My relationship with books….its complicated

I have to admit it.  Over the last few years, my relationship with books has changed.  There was a time which I would literally (pun intended) find almost every book, and if I could afford it, and buy it at any flea market/yard sale I could find.  And it would be mine, all mine! For years and years my passionate relationship with books continued by the boxload, unabated and wild.

That started to change a a few years ago, when I realized I had almost every book I could want, and then some.   I then started looking at books differently.  At first I began to question, do I need new books?  For a while I convinced myself that the books needed to be protected, given a good home, so they wouldn’t be neglected.  I hate to see books with broken spines, torn or crumpled pages, mold, sun bleached, etc.  As time went by with my book orphanage I acquired so many books that I realized I wouldn’t be able to read all  my books in several lifetimes.  This made more a bit uncomfortable to ponder that thought.

I came to the conclusion that there is really no greater abuse to a book than a book never read.  It is better to have it read and worn out than never read.  I started to make a pact that I wasn’t going to by any more books, unless I read at least as many as I bought.  At first, this goal was a more paper tiger.  As time went by though I learned more and more restrained, and now I am enforcing this rule upon myself.

The next step in my relationship with books became the thought: would someone else enjoy this book more than I?  I began to picture people taking great pleasure in this new knowledge they would get from the book that I sought out.  If I buy a book, I find myself now thinking of who could enjoy them as gifts.  Or not having an immediate person in mind, if I bought the books and loaned them to others. 

Thus, I now take pleasure in the books, but isn’t with the wild abandon I used to.  Now it’s just a generalized warmth I get in the knowledge that someone, somewhere, someday will most likely pick up the book (or e book/pdf, etc.) that will make them happy.  

I hope this doesn’t make me less of a bibliophile for this change in thought.  If it does, I hope at the very least it makes me a better human.Image


About Rhett Kennedy

An east coast transplant living in San Jose CA, and loving it. I am a master of useless trivia (medieval and ancient culture, a smattering of politics, ukulele and fan of most forms of music). I know life insurance, audio visual technology, commerical and fine art nd love to sing scottish ballads. I'm happily strange and enjoy strange people as a result.
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