Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Secret Life of Books:

(or Watch Me Entertain Myself sans Reading Anything)

The amount of “pre-owned” literature currently jammed into my bookshelf, sitting next to me on my desk, or occupying the “other” desk in this room is ridiculous impressive.

Great deals? Of course. The average price for aforementioned book(s) probably averages out to be about $2 each. We all know that a “regular” full-price book starts at $10 and goes up.

Lest not forget the anthologies which average $50.

I’m the perfect recycling bargain-shopper.

I have yet to READ all of these choice books. I plan to do so. I am picking out classics and if anything ever goes wrong in the world—as long as I am trapped in THIS room (and have sunlight and water) I’d be entertained for…YEARS!

Just seeing “Atwood” and “Minot” staring back at me from their respective spines is inspirational.

One of my favorite thing about “pre-owned” books (aside from the bargains) is imaging the life they led before they belonged to me….Germ-a-phobes need not continue reading:

I think of the students, specifically. I look for underlined passages and marginal notes. I wonder if they made it all the way through or if they just skimmed the surface.

Were they busy hating their teachers or falling in love with Orlando?

Did they want to throw the book against the wall or tattoo lines across their skin because they represented their heart?

Jennifer from Ypsilanti, MI, recently became my imaginary friend. I ended up (unknowingly) grabbing two books (not even the same author) that once belonged to her. Did she go to Eastern Michigan University in 1992?

What about E. B. Spence? I have an address of a dormitory, but it could be at any number of universities. The handwriting seems to be from the 1950s or maybe earlier (very prestigious).

A couple from Kentucky read (or received), my hardback Fitzgerald finds before I was even born.

I don't know what to say about the books with inscriptions. They seem so personal and passionate that I can’t believe they found their way to a used bookstore. I've even started a short story based on one of them.

For she was there.



Tara Mae said...

I thought you'd be interested in this. I signed up on a bunch of these blogs during National Poetry Month and lucked out by winning /4/ different collections!

Kelly said...

Loved used books, and I love the notes people write in them! Really brings another dimension alive. :)

janet said...

I checked out your link, Tara Mae! Thanks. Now I need to read at least 31 short stories for the Month of May!

Exactly, Kelly!



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