And the strangest thing happened. All right. It wasn’t strange at all. Actually, it’s quite common.
I decided I needed some air and some vitamin D, so I left the confines of CHNOLA and went out into the daylight with the intent of visiting the nearest grocery store for some tea. Tea’s my new thing lately. I stopped drinking coffee because I’m trying to keep my caffeine consumption low. I still drink it, but only decaf, and sometimes it feels like defeating the purpose. Also, I quite enjoy tea, always have. Some days I buy tea in the cafeteria here, but today I forgot, and by tea time, I realized I was out. Hence the field trip.
So by the time I reached the grocery store and saw all the fabulous food there, my stomach decided the salad and yogurt I’d had for lunch just weren’t cutting it. I needed a snack. The Triscuits were a treat, actually. They are full of whole-grain, no doubt, but also full of calories. The sun dried tomatoes were a serendipitous find, as I LOVE sun dried tomatoes and have never seen them sold in the bag before. Snacks galore!
Since I was already out, I convinced myself to visit a used book store just down the road. McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music is a store I’ve been eyeballing for the last year coming to and from CHNOLA. I don’t know why the music is difficult. All music is difficult to me, as I have no musical talent. But I digress…
The smell of old musky tomes struck me as soon as I opened the door, and I’m fairly certain I smiled at the familiar and inviting scent. I love the smell of old books. And new books. But especially old ones. It was rather warm in there, and it only helped intensify the glorious fragrance of the books’ years old pages. It reminded me of visiting the library as a child, and I got the same excited feeling in my gut I’d always gotten back then when my eyes beheld the shelves lined with books.
I have a certain love of used books that I don’t have for brand new ones. I love all books, don’t get me wrong, but the old, preowned books have a past. A history, if you will. They are the elderly matriachs and patriachs of literature waiting to share their tales with a new generation. I bought a copy of The Catcher In The Rye, it’s pages are yellowed and some of them bent up on the edges. While I read it, I don’t just get involved in the story, but also contemplate the book’s past. Was it once an assignment for a high school student who tossed it aside and forgot about it until his or her mother cleaned out the closets? Did a college student sell it to this bookstore in hopes to recoup what little money he or she could in order to pay for basic necessities, a practice not unknown to struggling students? Perhaps it belonged to a professor, and it’s pages are yellowed and bent from being near his or her bedside and read over and over again. These are the kinds of things I consider when I buy used books.
This is no good for my book hoarding obsession, I admit. I could have walked out with many, many more books. Adopted them from their virtual book shelter, where they’ve been placed in hopes of finding a new home. I promise myself I will read all of the books on my “to-read” list. I will. I’m already halfway through Catcher In The Rye, although I’ve been reading Moby Dick for months. Honestly, there are some books from which I need a short break before picking up again. Such is the case with Cloud Atlas, which I am now finally halfway through, as well. However, in my defense, that one’s on my Kindle app, and after a while my eyeballs are ready to fall out.
My list of books to read is ever-growing, and it will continue to grow. My lust for reading will never be satiated. I had a wonderful art teacher in high school who once asked, “What are you going to do when you’ve read up all the books in the world?” I answered, “Write my own.”