“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

(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)


About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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6 Responses to “When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

  1. I’ve never been down there, I don’t think Ye Olde Pocketbook cold handle it.

  2. maxauburn says:

    Books are a good thing

    I have a set of Encyclopedias from 1972, and the few missing books are from 1961, LOL!

    I love it. I got it from The Salvation Army in MD back in 1995 at 25 cents a book! They’re in great shape, too.

    I am watching less TV- and am online less, so am now actually reading a book! I am proud of that and I shall read more books, too!

    I probably have over 600 books here- have to give up some, as my bookcases are badly overcrowded- and I do have multiple copies of some books here.

    • songdogmi says:

      Re: Books are a good thing

      It’s worth culling the collection, so you have more room to put new books!

      We had a set of Funk & Wagnall’s encyclopedias, copyright date 1962, which my Mom bought at the grocery month-by-month as volumes came out. Unfortunately, it got water damaged about 20 years ago, so it’s gone now.

      Congrats on reading instead of TV. I hear it’s very good for people.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Powell’s in Portland, OR is on my life list. A city block by six stories tall of books, books, and more books. I’ve ordered from them and had great service.

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