(hey look, he’s back again!)
I have this hankering to go book shopping. Used book shopping, that is. Specifically, I’m ready for a trip to the really big store, John K. King Used and Rare Books in downtown Detroit. This ain’t full of them newfangled eee-lectronic book readers and freshly printed popular tomes. Nope, it’s four floors of previously read editions on tall, close-packed hand-made shelves in any subject you can think of and probably some you can’t.* I suspect it’s the environment I’m after, in large part. There are books, authors, subjects and genres that I’m always happy to go look for. Sometimes, it’s just about hanging around the books, especially older ones. Maybe it’s the smell, I dunno.
Mind, I don’t really need more books. I have lots of books that I haven’t read yet. I bought some just last month, in fact; they look interesting and I look forward to reading them. It’s just that, well, I’m a collector, I guess. I come by it honestly; my parents had their own stashes of stuff kept around just because. I managed to abscond with some of their book holdings over the years when they were moving and downsizing. Someone had to save these treasures!
I have a lot of older books, but not a lot of what would be considered really old, books printed, say, 75 or more years ago. I have an encyclopedia set, all ten volumes in reasonably good shape, which was published in 1929. Somewhere in a box, I have a very worn manual of the Detroit City Council for the year 1906. Most of the volumes on my shelves date from the 1970s or later. I doubt anything I have is worth much money at all on the used book market. It’s just, y’know, nice to have them around.
I tell you what I really need: Bookshelves. Bet I’m not the only one, huh? Maybe I should buy an old factory and line it with bookshelves….
* Plus extra space for ephemera and such, if you are lucky enough to be allowed to see it.
** The quote in the title is from Erasmus (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1896-when-i-have-a-little-money-i-buy-books-and)