Monday, February 8, 2010

Book Collecting

I used to be a book collector. I started collecting books in high school. In college, when everyone else was selling back their textbooks, I was the girl who would sort through the "free" bin at the university bookstore and collect all the textbooks that couldn't be resold.

When I moved to rural Louisiana to join Teach For America, I almost left my books behind. I was only taking my car and what I could fit inside. At the very last minute, I start shoving individual books into the crevices. I managed to get all of them. I couldn't bear to be without them.

As the years passed, I collected more and more books. I dreamed of having a home library, floor to ceiling. Of course my homes never had room for all those books. Even when we finally bought our own home, we still didn't have enough room for all of them. I eventually realized it was time to stop spending so much money and space on my book collection.

I sorted through my books and separated them into piles. I kept all the books I still want to reference, as well as the books I would want to lend out to friends. I also kept all the books that I just couldn't bear to part with. But other than that, I boxed them all up and took them to a used bookstore. After all those years and all that collecting, I walked out with $80 and an aching heart.

But my heart is mending, and my relationship with books is now friendlier on the environment, my wallet, and my storage space. I realized that I can get almost any book I want from the public library. Of course I miss the comforting and optimistic feelings I get when I walk into a bookstore, so I still go. But instead of pulling out my wallet, I pull out my iPhone. When I see a book I like, I search for it on the Houston Public Library website, put a hold on it, and request that it be sent to my nearest library branch. Voila!

Here's the stack of [library] books currently gathered by my bedside:

I think I ordered a few too many to finish before they're do. At least I can go online and renew them up to three times. Phew!

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Michele said...

In case you don't post tomorrow...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! (exclamation points warranted...) I hope you have a beautufl, joyful day and you eat some cake. Hapy birthday my dear friend....

And thank you so much for the book list- I had no idea Barbara Kingsolver's new novel is out.

Sandra Fernandez said...

As a staff member at the Houston Public Library, let me thank you for being an active customer and letting others know about the benefits of using our holds system.

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