I was speaking to a fellow book lover recently, who told me that they would never buy or read a used book, which I found to be quite an odd thing for a self proclaimed book lover to say. For me, when I say I love books, I mean any and all books. New, old, paper, audio or ebooks, used, beat up, taped together and too faded to read books. I love dropped in the bath wrinkled books, over-borrowed and mysteriously stained library books. I even hold a secret appreciation for doodled in, annotated school books as long as they are spoiler free.
The statement made me realize that there is more than one kind of book collector:
There are the kind who collect masses of books, who relish organising the pristine covers, the kind who turn their noses up at ebooks and skinny shelves, and library cards because for them, the acquisition is a physical, sensory thing. Books to them are like serial killer trophies, objects to be kept, looked at and admired, to remind them of their reading experience. They’re likely to recommend you a book, but are incredibly unlikely to lend you one.
And then there are the second kind. The kind who collect the stories inside the covers, the ones who revel in the reading, not the format, who often end up buying the same book repeatedly, because they keep pressing copies of the novels that they love into the palms of others, desperate to share that world with someone else, even if it means they never see that copy again.
I try to make more effort to fit into that second category, to only hold onto the books that I know I’m going to want to read again one day, but it does mean that I easily forget about the things I’ve read but haven’t kept.
So I thought I’d make little space to remind myself. Feel free to stay a while.