Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Book Collecting and Me

Many people have asked me why I collect books. My usual response is a shrug followed by the phrase, 'why not?' How do I explain to people my love, my passion for books? To people who's treatment of books consists of reading a book then tossing into some old box that sits in a dust corner of a garage, attic, or basement, only to be sold at some yard sale for five cents. Only fellow bibliophiles can truly understand the relationship that I have with books. Calling myself a bibliophile is perhaps being a bit... conservative. I'm sure that a case could be argued for calling me a bibliomaniac, a distinction that I am sure to live happily with. There are a few people that are close to me that have some inkling. Books, for me, are not merely part of my life, they ARE my life.

Books have a certain beauty about them too. I know even those that don't care for books much can't deny the beauty of a large private library filled with old leather bound books. There is a primal pull towards books. It could just be the information contained in them, but I don't think so. You can get those e-readers now a days, but most people that have them will tell you that they don't compare to the feel of a real book. A book is warm and lively. The even seem to exhibit a personality of their own. Even the smell of books can be quite intoxicating.

Many collectors and avid readers claim that their obsession start back in their younger years. Most point to some children's book. The start of my love affair with books didn't start that early. That's not to say that I didn't learn to read till later. I could read, very well, and I could understand what it was I was reading. I just despised reading. I hated having to read for school. It wasn't until my freshman year of high school that that all changed. I was introduced to fantasy novels by a friend. After that first book it was all down hill from there. I was soon checking books out of the library or borrowing them from my friends, spending most of my time reading, to the point if ignoring homework. For the first few years I mainly just read fantasy novels with the few books I had to read for school. After a while I started to read some non-fiction books as well. In the years since I have collected many many books. I have bought a lot of them. Some were given to me either as gifts or just because someone want to clean out their attic.

The idea of a personal library, for me, is a no brainer. Of course someday I'm hoping for a nice room that I can call my own and set it up to be a library with the over stuffed chairs, fireplace, and lets not forget the floor to ceiling bookcases with a library ladder or two. For now I'm and content to have my collection about me, with bookcases filling the living room and soon, the bedroom. My books will always have a home, a place to rest while they wait for someone to come along and explore their own little pleasures within those pages, ever effort being made to pass on that same contagious disease (if you want to call it that, I prefer to think of it as a blessing) that I caught all those years ago.


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