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.