I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?
Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?
If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?
Oh, my goodness – what a question! I suppose right here is where I insert the history of my life-long love affair with the written word, and pursuit of the book as object of desire.
OK, don’t worry – I’m not really going to do that.
Why do I buy books? I buy them in order to read them, of course. But I buy them in order to have them, too. I think it’s the repressed librarian in me – I just love the idea of books on shelves. My shelves. The promise and implied possibility that all those volumes represent. I guess that’s also at least part of the reason I have so much trouble getting rid of books.
Why don’t I borrow from the library? Well, at different points in my life I have been more of a library patron than I am now. I love libraries and I love borrowing books from libraries. Unfortunately, our local public library isn’t one of the best I’ve ever encountered. And at the moment I don’t have access to a university library. And since I’m lucky enough to be able to afford to buy books (for now, anyway – although that was not always the case), I’ve gotten used to indulging my book passion in bookstores instead.
And I guess that passion is just something that grew up with me. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t own books, beginning with the cloth and board books I had as a tot. And I’m really hoping there will never come a time when I don’t own books. That’s a possibility that’s just too scary to entertain.