Here's the thing you should know about bibliophiles, if you don't already. We love books. We are obsessed with books, reading, writing, author events, book sales, getting autographs from our favourite authors, going to old bookstores, new bookstores, warehouses of books, wearing socks that have bookish things on them, bookends to keep our books from falling over, shelves to hold our books, the best wine to go with what we are reading, or the best tea for a sunny day on the porch read.
You get the idea. (yes another) culling of my TBR pile of books. (That's To Be Read, for anyone who doesn't know the acronym). I had more books than a person could possibly read in whatever years I might have left on this earth. It was ludicrous. And we were moving. A perfect opportunity to give away some of the books, I knew I would never have time to read.
And so I did. And I'm happy to say that lots of people benefited from the 400+ books on 16 shelves that I dispersed among the second hand shops, or gave away to friends. I decided I would take on a policy. I will not buy any more books unless I'm sure I will read them. So no more going to book sales and picking up something that "looks interesting" simply because it's only $2, or no more book purchases from anywhere, second hand or otherwise unless I am sure I'm going to read it. And the second part of that is, with the exception of authors I really LOVE, or a particular book that I want to reference, or know I will read again, once I have read a book, it is going out the door to someone else.
All this culling and these wonderful new "policies" left me with a reasonable, 2 shelves plus 3 single books on my nightstand, which translates into about 50 books. I should add that this does not include the books I have for researching whatever I'm writing, genealogical/family related books, books other members of my family have written since the 1800s or books written by friends. 6 more shelves, but that's another matter. But back to books for just pleasure reading; I know people who can read 50 books in a year. A book a week. Why not? For me that culling has produced about a 2 year supply of enjoyable reading, depending on how many manuscripts I have to edit and how much writing I'm doing. But all in all, I think I'm set, right? Wrong.....
Yesterday, my niece came to visit. What a pleasant surprise! I hadn't seen her in quite a while and we had lots of catching up to do so we spent the entire day together ' lunch, an afternoon of touring around the Niagara Peninsula visiting various ancestral homesteads and other places (do you want to know about the cemeteries we went to? I thought not.) And then we finished up with supper out as well, because - well because it was that time and I was not quite ready to say goodbye yet. (insert teardrops here)
But here's the thing. Halfway through our day, we happened to be passing by The Book Depot on Welland Ave. I barely got the words out. "Say, we are going to be passing right by the Book..." "YES!" she said.
My niece is a bibliophile too. Her obsession might be even greater than mine. Oh, who am I kidding. It's 10 times (at least) greater than mine. But then, she's younger than I am, so she's got a little more time to read all those books she's collected.
Long story longer................. Of course we parked and went in. I have to say, I'm proud of the fact that I kept my shopping to a minimum. I didn't set a limit, but I did put back many books that I thought looked interesting or that my niece recommended. NO, I thought. not now. If I get everything else read and I still want to read it, I'll come back for it. Thank goodness for smartphones. I snapped a few pictures of book covers so I'll remember them for another time.
In the end we each bought 5 books. Not bad I'd say for a couple of bibliophiles who find it difficult to say no to a book.
As a side note: I have another bibliophile in my house. I've known for some time that Jackson (grandson who is turning 10) is one. I have taken him to a few Book Riots and other sales and he loves all the books. He loves the look of them, the feel of them, the words inside even when before he read them them, the smell, the mood of the place - all of it. Just like his Nana. The other day, I received a copy of my friend Mark Baker's new book. It was sitting on my desk when Jackson came in from school.
"Hhmm," he said, picking it up. "New book Nana?" And then he opened it to a middle page, stuck his nose inside and took a huge whiff. "MMmm, I love the smell of books," he said with a grin and then put the book back.
Ah yes, a new generation of bibliophiles. They like video games and movies but some of them still like to read.
God bless the bibliophiles because that's what keeps authors writing. Or is it the other way around? I'll let you decide.
Either way, HAPPY READING
NOTE: If you're interested in my friend's book, mentioned above. you can find it on Amazon. It's an historical fiction, set in about 790 AD, just after the Viking Raids on Lindisfarne.