Friday, January 29, 2010

Why I Am In The Used Book Business

That's easy ... I LOVE books!

My mom had been a teacher before she got married, and instilled in her three sons a love of reading. More importantly, we had a room full of books to read.  Off of our dining room was a small room that we called the den, where our minuscule black and white television lived (this was before DVD's ... before VHS and cable even!)  Two of the walls were lined with bookshelves, and on them were hidden treasures untold - worlds and lives I could not even imagine. 

The rule of thumb was if I could reach it, I could read it.  The lower shelves were mostly paperbacks - Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and Robb White - and hardbound volumes of short stories. By the time I had worked my way through them I was tall enough to reach the higher shelves, where John Steinbeck rubbed shoulders with Sinclair Lewis, and Alexander Dumas dueled for my attention with Robert Louis Stevenson.

Yes, I know there are books on tape, and e-books, but there is something about an actual BOOK.  I love the heft of a book in my hand, the texture of the paper, the patterns of black type against the page, the smell of fresh ink or old paper.  Even the sound of turning a page is music to my ears. 

It's like the difference between watching a movie of Hamlet on your TV, and seeing it performed on the stage.  The first is entertaining.  The second is enlivening, enlightening, enthralling.  You don't watch it; you experience it.  The story is the same, but there is a qualitative difference.