This blog is basically about how good books are nice and bad books are the pits. And then I get grumpy.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wanderings and Ponderings...

So you've just bought a couple of books, say a hardcover and a paperback, and you look at the receipt which registered at around $40 and you're thinking, "Is my book-buying binge justifiable?"

Been there?

If you have then you know the struggle that ensues, the examination of your conscience, your finances, your decision-making abilities, the guilt which can accompany the memory of that transaction, the attempts to think positively, and finally the resolving that, indeed, you spent too much.

Which brings something up - What's the big idea with the high price of books? Even a trade paperback can cost around $14, or more. Forget about hardcovers which are practically as dear as some costume jewelry (in cost and sentimentality to the buyer). People spend as much time thinking about whether to buy a hardcover as they do in whether to buy the gold-plated earrings in that glass case at the department store. What a shame!

A writer named Christopher Morley stated or wrote that, "When you sell a man a book you don't sell him just 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life." That's not a bad way to put the experience of buying a book - buying a new life. But is that an experience fewer people have when books cost so very much?

Fortunately, there is such a thing as the library, where a person can at least 'rent' a new life...or a vacation, a time-travel experience, language lessons, etc. All these can be experienced even if all you have in your wallet is a borrower's card.

It is nice, however, to have one's own library with shelves from which one can pull an adventure whenever one wants. Oh, I'll visit Middle-Earth today! Or Regency England! Or I'll have a lesson from famous scientist Stephen Hawking! Or from chef Julia Child!

But that involves the purchase of books which is what started this thought process to begin with. So do you turn around, march back in the store and return your purchases?

Oh, the happy times when one can buy a book without a guilty conscience!

Book-lovers know how nice those are.


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