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Monday, March 26, 2012

Confessions of a Reader

I have always felt a slightly out of step with my fellow booksellers.  You see, I have a rule that when I tell it to co-workers or other readers they usually look at me like I'm crazy.  I only keep 50-75 books in my house at one time, that number has grown a bit because of all the unread books I keep. But if it starts to creep up, I purge. I don't have fancy shelves, I don't have any emotional attachment to the physical book.  I'm not a regular e-reader, I just view the books themselves as vessels, and once I read a book...the story is with me.

This picture is my 'bookshelf'.  I have made a few exceptions, sentimentality can't be completely routed out.  My first copy of Little Women, it's broken in half, but I can't imagine parting with it.  Various different editions of The Confederacy of Dunces, The Basement by Kate Millet...the most chilling book I have ever read, a handful of exercise reference books, a signed copy of Henry Rollins latest book, a copy of Rubyfruit Jungle that is signed to a girl I dated (we broke up before I could give it to her, and selling it or donating it feels weird).  And a bucket full of kids books for my boyfriend's son, and he can only have the one bucket.

I'm surrounded by people that have stacks & stacks of books at home, they brodart the covers, they dust them probably (hopefully?) and when they move everyone hates helping them because they have 50 back breaking boxes.  I'm just not that kind of reader.  BUT I AM A READER!

I've been reading since I was three, I stayed up way past bedtime with the best of them, reading by flashlight.  I even read in the SHOWER...that's right, with a sandwich bag over a mass market...BOO YA.

But, I feel like my 'book person' status comes into question when it's discovered how few books I own, and that I fold corners.  YUP, you heard me.

Don't get me wrong, I think books are beautiful,  I love a particularly clever cover - and the feel of delicate pages is wonderful. (side note -  enough with the covers that feel like synthetic human skin already...) I don't want people to stop buying them, I certainly haven't and can't imagine the day.  I bought curator shelves to display books I feel have risen to the level of artwork, it's a great way to switch out my art as often as I like.  I have an appreciation.

Maybe I feel a bit defensive when I work in an industry where most of my peers talk about rooms they can't access in their house anymore because they're filled with books.  It feels as if I must prove my passion for books by hoarding.  Well, I'm here to say that I am a book lover, I will surround myself with the stories I love for the rest of my life AND will stand proud by my small pile and bucket.

The other place I have books in my house, since clearly there aren't 75 books shown above - are my nightstands.  The majority of the books I have in my house are books I haven't read.  It's an assortment of advance reader copies, some Russian absurdist lit (Daniil Kharms..xoxox), books I read about in reviews of other books,  a bit of Gore Vidal and a vampire novel.  Crafting this post  I've decided that before I start another book I will finish each of these books! (Even as I type that I know I won't make it....) I am a very fickle reader, feeling the grass is always greener with the books I DON'T have in front of me.

So, I may not care if any of my books are signed, I may not care about maintaining the value of the books I do have,  but what I care about has remained the same from my first foray into the world of  Nancy Drew...the story!  My head and heart are filled with characters that have shaped who I am today.

Big stuffed and messy shelves or not...I AM READER! rawr.



  1. I'm not so brave. I have stacks of ARCs, bookshelves full of print books I cannot part with, and a garage full of boxes of books. I think that when I finally open my own bookstore, I'll sell them (but not all).

  2. I wish I could be so good. During the last move (from Canada to US) I parted with almost half of my books. They still are way too many. Plus my husband's ones, which he needs for work (or so he says :-)
    I say to myself: in time..
    Meanwhile, thank goodness for the libraries!