Monday, July 8, 2013

No More Books: I am sad.

What's it been? Four months or so?

Bah. Who remembers these things anyway.

I know I've been a bad blogger. Bad reader, bad writer.  Just bad all around. I have no excuses, really, except that I am busy. Which I realize we are all busy, but after working all day and coming home...I kind of just like vegging in bed with a book. Or watching old episodes of the Tudors just so I can wait for Duke Phillip of Bavaria to make his appearance. (Helloooooo, Captain Hook!)

Sometimes I like to relax by refusing to let Padawan play his video games. (Usually by sitting on his lap and wrapping my arms around his neck so he can't see the screen and then refusing to budge.)

But mostly I just like my books. Good old friends that I like to visit over and over again. Sometimes I buy new books, of course, but we're really trying not to buy new things because our tiny one bedroom apartment is getting awfully cramped with two full grown humans and two dogs with big personalities. Our bookshelves are overflowing as it is and we have no space for more, so we're really trying not to buy new books. 

Honestly, Padawan is better at this than I am. He is all about the public library and being able to digitally check out books on his Kindle, read them, and then get another one, all within the comfort of our own (tiny) home. I am not good at this. I don't like borrowing books. I like owning books and then rereading them over and over and over again. (I've read Gone with the Wind so many times I have entire portions memorized verbatim.) And Padawan likes to read his books once: read it once, and never again. My God, if I want to watch a movie we've seen in the last eighteen months he says "But we watched that recently!" 

Here is the downside to a library: you find a book, you read it, and then you have to give it back. Well, if I've read the whole thing, that means I loved it. (As I love most books. I have only three books in my entire life I did not finish reading: some version of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest, The Fellowship of the Ring, and Passage to India, although that wasn't a personal dislike for the writing but rather what happened in the story.) When I love a book, I want to read it again. I like to own it so I can read it again at any time. You never know when the mood will strike to relive a particular character's life. 

So I don't like giving books back. 

As for digital rentals...well, I like my Kindle only when I need books to travel with  me. It's not exactly logical to go Zilker Park for a picnic and a swim with Gone with the Wind in my bag. It's a huge book! But I certainly don't want to use my Kindle at home! No, I like the feel and smell of the traditional book. I like turning the pages, using a book mark, (God forgive you if I catch you dog earring my pages, for I never will!) feeling the weight of the words in my hands! A Kindle is no replacement for a good old fashioned book. It's just not.

So while Padawan is all about the new, I am firmly passionate about the old. In fact, you could say I'm a little neurotic about libraries and Kindles and renting books. Don't get me wrong, I love Rosebud. But she's not my book. She's just capable of holding all of my favorite books. It is not the same thing at all.

What I like to do is go to the book store (these days it's Half Price those exist outside of Austin?) and go to my favorite sections. Sometimes I'll look for specific authors, but generally I just read titles. When I find something that seems interesting, I take it out. I read the synopsis. If that proves interesting, I'll open the book and start reading.

If I am not hooked in the first paragraph, I put it back. There have been two instances in my life where I have continued reading past the first paragraph even though it was not interesting to me, and both times I wound up abandoning the book. Those were the Robin Hood book and The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, I really tried with both of those books. With The Fellowship I even made it to the last chapter. And then I just gave up, because reading it was torture. No offense to Tolkien, but if he is as dry when he speaks as he is when he writes, people must fall asleep listening to him! 

And when I go to the store I generally find two or three new books to come home with me, and I read them all that week...and then a couple of months later I'll probably read them again. And again....

And again.

Because I do not read it once and then have done with it. 

If you've ever seen the movie Toy Story, you can understand where I am coming from: books want and need to be read. When you buy a book and read it once, you're hurting its feelings! You are denying it the pleasure of whisking you away to another time and place and world! 

Which is exactly how we have so many books. I do not sell or donate them. I buy them, and I write my name in them, and I keep them forever and ever and ever. And so my collection grows, but my space doesn't.

So. Until we finish paying off the car (planning to do that at the end of this year: six thousand left!) and manage to save enough for a house, we're staying in a tiny apartment.

Therefore, I must resist the urge to by more books.

But damn it, it's like telling me not to buy shoes. I just want to buy them. 


  1. Yes, we have Half Price Books here in Ohio. Love that store.

    I also like to own and reread books. I re-watch movies a lot too. My wife isn't really big on re-watching movies and she doesn't much see the point. But for me, knowing what happens is only a very small percentage of the enjoyment. Rereading book or re-watching a movie is like a world that you revisit. The story never changes but YOU change. You see and think and feel different things ever time you come back.

    1. I don't get the thing about movies. Why do people buy movies if they have no intention of ever watching them again?

      It just doesn't make sense in their world.

      But out world makes sense. You get it!

  2. Okay, first item of business: HOLY CRAP I'VE MISSED YOU, AND IT'S SOOOO GREAT TO SEE A POST FROM YOU!!!

    Ahem. Moving on...

    I'm right there with you, sister. I love my books. Love. Them. Don't even think about making me get rid of a single one, or you'll be in for a battle and a half! I love re-reading them, too. I mean, these characters are my FRIENDS. You don't just see a dear friend once, and then walk away forever! That's crazy, and inhumane and I won't stand for it! Not on my bookshelves!

    You know, I've never really wanted a mansion, but there has always been one thing I have always envied about those big old, houses: the library. I would love to have a room that's all about books! Every wall, covered in shelves that are packed from ceiling to floor with books! Sigh...I think I may have gone off on a tangent here...

    Anyway, love this post! I agree whole heartedly! Don't be a stranger! Even if you don't write blog posts, e-mail me or something! :)

    1. I've missed you, too, Candice!

      That's how I explain it to Padawan: my books are my friends and they need to be revisited every once in a while because they have lots of interesting things to share!

      Do you ever sit there and watch that scene in Beauty and the Beast? You know the one: he makes her close her eyes, opens all the curtains...and then she's just surrounded by books? And there's the ladder that is on wheels that goes around the whole room and shelves so she can get everywhere?

      I want that.

      So much.

      Except maybe rolling stairs instead of a ladder, because stairs are more stable and heights are not my favorite thing.

    2. Yes! I totally know what you're talking about! I'm right there with you! On a side note, that is still the best, most thoughtful gift ever given in the history of movies, bar none!

  3. Thoughtful, perhaps. But another way of looking at it is that the Beast is keeping her prisoner and he's giving her the library to sweeten her imprisonment -- a little gilding for the cage, so to speak, a world of books to explore with her imagination as a substitute for the world outside that she's locked away from.

    1. But she wasn't really a prisoner at that point. He had told her leave, then saved her from the wolves. By the time the library came around, she was more of a voluntary guest.

    2. Ah, my mistake. It's been a long, long, longgggggg, time since I've seen that movie or heard that story.


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