Saturday, May 5, 2012
Books and more books
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 here.....you 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.