Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book Dilemma

In his later years, my father lived in a split level house. On the lower lever he had a bedroom with office alcove and a recreation room. Covering the walls, on shelves he had made, were books. Floor to ceiling, wall to wall, books. Now, I don't know if he read all those books, except for the Zane Gray and possibly the books about WWII, in which he lost two brothers. I don't know where he got all those books. All I know is that he loved books: loved to be surrounded by them, to see them, to smell them.

My husband was not a reader. He read what was requried for instruction, and to research companies for investment in their stocks. Much of that reading he did at the library. He believed in libraries. He might purchase a book if it would be useful to return to again and again over time or if he wanted to share it with others. He did not believe in purchasing books for pleasure reading which then took up room in your house and which you would never read again. Unfortunately, for me he was right about the never read again part. I rarely go back to a book after I've read it, no matter how good it was.

Now that I'm a widow, and a writer, I find my relationship with books somewhat conflicted. I write book for pleasure reading that the reader is not apt to read again in the future. Nevertheless, I would like very much for people to purchase my books, and that has made me feel guilty about not purchasing more of other people's books. But I'm a voracious reader and have become a dyed in the wool library user. Besides, I've moved enough times that I can see the folly of acquiring a huge library of my own.

Of course, I try to support my fellow local authors by purchasing their books at signings and presentations. I have to go into bookstores, with their shelves full of temptation, when I have my own signings, too. I think of my shelves at home, rapidly filling. I think of all those books in the library I still haven't read. But I rarely leave the store without spending more than I made.

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