Saturday, May 5, 2012

Books and more books

I am a book lover. I have hundreds of hardbound books and have read all but 30 or so.....some of them two or three times just because I'm in love with the characters.

I grew up in a rural environment and the closest library was about 8 miles away. I have delightful vivid memories of being dropped off at that library and spending hours there. The huge old Victorian style house that was used as the public library had a charisma that was a magnet for book lovers like me.

As soon as you entered, the fragrance that only thousands upon thousands of books could create would envelope you.  That and the underlying aroma of wax....perhaps Murphy's Oil Soap..... all contributed to the homey feel of the place. The wooden floors creaked softly as you browsed from one shelf to another. No elevators had to walk up stairs in this three story sanctuary of the written word and I believe each stair had its own unique creak as you ascended. There were over-stuffed chairs here and there where one could curl up with a book for a while. Everyone spoke in hushed tones as respect hung heavily in the air. My library card had a small metal plate with numbers on it and I felt so grown up having that in my possession.

That library was eventually torn down and replaced with a new modern, sleek building. I always found it cold and never stayed long as it was not inviting at all.

Hardbound books are expensive new and although nothing beats the fragrance of a new book, most of mine have been purchased used. I used to get them at book sales put on by the library and at garage sales. In later years I purchased the books used from online sellers.  I have cut way back on doing that as the postage to mail them has increased to the point where it doesn't make much sense to pay more to have it shipped than what you paid for the book itself.

That being said, I have to tell you that in years of buying used books, I have found some interesting things inside the books themselves. To name a few, I have found bookmarks, grocery lists, jokes, flyers advertising sales or shows, a picture of a toddler, a pressed flower, ticket stubs and the best find was three brand new one-dollar bills.

I recently bought 4 used books and one of them is coming from the United Kingdom, which is a first for me. The seller has stated that it will be the middle of June before I receive it. I'm hoping that maybe I will find something unique hidden between its pages. I found it rather interesting that the book was not available used in the U.S. in hardcover, only in paperback. I don't purchase paperbacks because after a few years they tend to fall apart. 

Have you ever found something interesting in a book?  I once found a letter in a library book and sent it back to its original owner. She wrote back and we became pen pals for a while.


forsythia said...

I can just picture your "old" library. From about age 5 to 10, I lived with my grandparents, within walking distance of the public library. I loved having a library card. Although Grammy sometimes chided me for "always having your nose in a book," I know she was happy to let me walk to the library with my friend and take out a stack of books. I remember a nice librarian who wore her thick reddish-brown braids wrapped around her head. She was always happy to help us girls find a book or even recommend a book she thought we'd like.

Josie Two Shoes said...

What a beautiful doorway back to memories of my own love affair with the local library all the years I was growing up, in fact I worked there for a year or so during high school! Yes, old wooden stairs that creaked, and the wonderful smell of books, the hushed tones, and the ever friendly librarian who encouraged my reading and allowed me into the adult section younger than usually permitted, since I had devoured everything of interest in books written for young people.

I do not own a lot of books, I have travelled to much and they are cumbersome to move. I tend to buy paperbacks now, to read and then donate or pass on for someone else to enjoy. I often obtain used books from Amazon sellers at great prices, but yes, one has to watch the shipping. We have a great used book store here too, that gives you credit for books you bring in, to be applied to books you want to take!

I don't find nearly the time to read as I used to, I fear the Internet has stolen me away, but I need to make time, there are so many wonderful books I want to read, and they are a great way of transporting one from the stresses of everyday work and weariness!

A lovely post Val, thanks for renewing memories I had long since forgotten! :-)

Beau's Mom said...

My mom would take me to the library and there was an open stairway to a second floor and it was open also, to the ground floor. I would stand below and watch mom peruse the books. This was in the late 50's and I remember a sign on the stairwell that said "ADULT READING. NO CHILDREN ALLOWED". It makes me wonder what the heck it could have been that was considered bad back then. Probably GONE WITH THE WIND. But if MORE of the original sense of morality still existed, I can't help but think children wouldn't be growing into adulthood at 12.

smocha said...

I am also a book lover. I buy them compulsivly at yard sales and thrift stores, sometimes I never even read them. I just love having them there.
I remember when I was a kid they gave us these flyers at school where you could order books. I circled the ones I was dying to have but my mom never let me buy any.I never had a library as quaint as the one you descibe but it has always been a place of wonder for me.I still go at least once a week. I have library cards in 3 countries baby!

read on sistah'

Peruby said...

Rats! I never found anything in old books. My Mom had quite a collection, but they are problematic when moving around.

I rarely read at all anymore. Very sad.

Happyone said...

I'm a book lover too and remember my first library card with that small metal plate that you mentioned.
I was alone a lot of time and loved going to the library.
When we move one of the first things we do is find out where the library is. Now I live within three miles to three of them!
I have found a shopping list and a book mark or two in books.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Just wanted to say Happy Mother's Day Val. I hope you have a beautiful day sweetie. ~Joy xo

dc said...

Since I own a small used book store in SW Missouri I do find all kinds of things in books that I take in on trade. Often airline stubs, I have a CPR card taped up in case owner comes back. Found 2 dollars in one and returned them to the customer when they came back weeks later. I did find a 2o$ bill in a book I bought along time ago. Like you I love books and love to open my little shop and take a deep breath. I always tell it goodby when I close on Saturday!

Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

We have moved so many times due to my husbands work, that over the years I have really trimmed my hardback section of books. I collect First Lady bios, so those I have kept.

I tend to get paperbacks from flea markets and garage sales and then trade them in at my favorite used book store for credit that I then spend on what I want to read. After i've read them i then pass on the good ones to one of my daughters and to my sister.

I have found airline boarding passes too. receipts, real bookmarks. No $$ though.