Monday, November 29, 2010

books, a love affair

I confess....I need the extra space.

We moved to this house when I was eight. It was the summer before I started fourth grade. We were still somewhat new at the blended family thing but I was the only kid who was going to be a full time resident. My step-sister must have been starting college and my step-brothers would have been in their teens. I'm guessing it was with an eye to their various visits that the guest room was furnished with two twin beds. Since my return home in my thirties was unexpected, my childhood room has long been an office (both mom and step-dad work from home) and I am in the guest room. The twin bed has taken an adjustment and there is a bit of an emotional/mental downer in using it, but the second bed is mighty handy. I have a bed for me. And I have a bed for my books.

I am generally not a very material person. I don't tend to want a lot of things (which frustrates folks in December with my birthday and the holidays crammed together). But I hoard books. They are my wallet-weakness. I know I should use the library, but there's something that compels me to OWN my books. I prefer paperbacks, and would even if they weren't cheaper, because they fit better in my hands. This is especially true since I enjoy reading in bed, traditionally before going to sleep. The upside to unemployment is reading in bed in the mornings too. It's a lovely way to enter the day, especially when the air is cold and the blankets cozy. I've fallen in love with getting used books (always in good condition). I suppose there's an irony since I take them out of circulation, but I kind of enjoy wondering where they've been. I loved the one that had stamps showing it lived abroad and in a library. I kept a plane ticket stub that fell out of another (travel b/w Croatia and Italy!!).

I am sure I've said before that I revisit books. I have a decent memory for happenings in my life but have never been good at memorization beyond that. It's why I never enjoyed history classes...the stories of history intrigues me but I never could recall dates or make analogies to other events. Likewise, I sometimes recall how a book "felt" but I never fully remember it so I can reread it without boredom. Some I even reread annually...those I do recall more strongly but I still find new wonders each time.

I tend to be drawn to character driven books (I swear I've blogged on this before but can't find it...). I don't need a complex plot, I'd rather have complex players. I don't need to love the characters, in fact I prefer that they have imperfections, but I need to be intrigued by them. I like them well-rounded and with warts. I don't want them to be quite like me or like people I know, I like to "meet" new folks, but I want to understand them (even if I don't agree with them). I tend to read "quality fiction" with an occasional chick-lit break thrown it, though I've enjoyed getting to explore other genres through the HarperCollins review team.

That last paragraph feels thrown in to a post more about physical books than their stories, but I didn't want to skip it. I'll return though to the material reality of reading before I hit "publish" and send this off to the e-sphere. I desperately hope that "real" books don't become a relic of the past. I suppose they are a bit safer than records/tapes/CDs since they can be enjoyed without any extra equipment, but I hope they don't disappear with technology. I know many who love their e-readers, including my dad who is a fellow book addict, but I just can't do it. I want to hold my books, not a tablet computer. I want to feel them and turn the pages and dog-ear them (yes, I dog-ear...and I'm proud of it!!). I like the heft and the reality. When I left Boston, I brought a large duffel filled with some "essentials" and left several boxes full of books to be sent when I have a new place of my own. The second twin bed has the books that came with me and many more that I've found since then. I may need a two bedroom apartment to accommodate them when I settle again. It'll be worth it to have their company.

5 comments:

Righteous Runner said...

Very good post! I dog-ear too and I'm not ashamed. Did you know one of the first things people do upon picking up a book is to smell it? I don't think you can smell an e-reader. :-)

clg1213 said...

thanks! that's a cool bit of trivia. and i totally do it...

Freckles said...

What are you reading now?

JAG said...

I confess I have been seduced by the dark side of the force...KINDLE. I have about 2000 hardback books, cannot easily part with any of them. Just plain ran out of room.

clg1213 said...

freckles -- i keep my list current on goodreads...are you on there?? i'm almost done reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society...not a big fan....