By: Holly Lynn
There are many people who love books. Often when I’m walking around the library, around town, even out on hikes in a park, I end up talking about books with people I meet. To be honest, it is my favorite thing to do. I remember first working in a public library and thinking, “I get paid to do this”. There really is nothing better to me than sharing the ideas, philosophy, plotlines, emotions and humor gleaned from books. In short, I love books, too.
So what is the rub? Lately I’ve been in a quandary about owning books. Two weeks ago, I moved for the third time since I came to Vermilion. Many of my books weren’t unpacked from my previous move. I decided to weed (library lingo for removing) my personal book collection. I was surprised at the number of books I haven’t read yet. I purchased these important books with the thought of reading them later. However, when I purchase new books for the library, I often will take one home. So, which books win? The library books win every time. They have a ready-made deadline called the due date. I know someone else would like to read it when I’m done, so I make the time to finish it.
Book hoarding comes naturally. Lithub.com has a blog post on famous book hoarders. Karl Lagerfeld is the undisputed winner with over 300,000 books. George Lucas has over 27,000 books and Ernest Hemingway had over 9,000. Harry Houdini had over 5,000 on spiritualism and magic alone. Which is, of course, more than they will ever read. So why own so many books? Do we think we are going to find the answer in an old book? Answer to what? It makes me think of Hermione Granger at Hogwarts leafing through a large dusty book searching for the spell that will save wizarding world.
Which leads me back to which ones that stay and which ones go in my own collection. I donated some to the library book sale, but I really should donate more. My personal collection is a ragtag mix of library discards of poetry, literature and essays, with some new cookbooks mixed in. When I open a box, I find myself leafing through and reading. Then I get up, make a cup of tea and read some more. I’m pretty sure I won’t be finding a spell in these books, but I bet I find a really good poem or story.
My guess is I will be buying new bookshelves. It’s a good thing my house isn’t as big as Karl Lagerfeld’s.