I am glad I…
like to collect books. It’s a quirky hobby, and one that many people really don’t understand. I’ve seen the eyes of my friends glaze over when I start in on the minute details of my latest discovery or my greatest treasure. I’ve watched their glances shoot back and forth, questioning my sanity. I’ve witnessed their complete lack of interest when I mention traveling to a library sale, a used book shop or a thrift store in search of new acquisitions that will enhance my collection.
Like any collector, I just like it. It’s a healthy hobby because I do not go into expensive book sales or auctions looking for heavily advertised first editions signed by long dead authors. I don’t have one narrow focus, like 17th Century English Literature. I don’t actually want to spend a lot of money on my book collection. I like to find a book that costs under ten dollars, knowing that it’s worth a lot more. That is really fun for me. Slowly, I have learned more about the value and condition of various books and can recognize something special pretty quickly. I have also made my share of inexpensive mistakes. In some ways, those errors in investment are more valuable than the ones that prove to be a source of income. I spend a dollar or two and learn exactly why that is all it is worth- a dollar or two. That’s very helpful as I go out prowling.
I have found great used books just about everywhere. I now own a strong collection of signed and inscribed first editions, poetry, and non-fiction. I have the signatures of some famous prize winning authors, including Madeleine L’Engle, David McCullough, Art Buchwald, Frank McCourt and Jonathan Krakauer. I’ve sold some of my books over the years when I needed to, even though I did it with reluctance. One was a fantastic signed copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. He had drawn a picture in it, signed it and inscribed it to a friend. When I sold it, I made a lot of money.
Sometimes I find pictures and reviews slipped inside a book. Once I found a lot of wedding photographs. Last year, I found a copy of a book signed by Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner that is not valuable but I’m such a fan, it made me happy. Plus it was free.
Wherever I go, I have fun looking at used books and I am just delighted to have it as a hobby.
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
Jorge Luis Borges
What are you glad you…………