I flat out love books. They were my escape and my salvation as a child, and they offer comfort and reward for me today after a long day. Best of all, I get to work with them as a volunteer. They can easily be the bane of my existence too.
I was talking to the cookbook lady Friday as I put that load of cookbooks out on the shelves. She was hovering over my wagon load. Politely. Another lady was digging in the piles as the cook book lady and I chatted.
Her mother died this year as did her most supportive husband. This was also the year of the Kindle and the Nook. “They did my business in,” she told me. She closed her store and does everything online now.
I still read real paper books though you could have caught me hefting a Kindle at Frye’s this last week. My hands told me that the weights are still similar to a good hardbound book, so books resting on a lap pillow are still in my life.
After I got everything shelved, I stepped back and watched them cut my stock in half. The young woman was just beginning her start as a cookbook collector. She took my recommendation and bought the James Beard’s American Cooking and the newly reissued Culinary Arts Institute giant ‘50’s compendium. I grabbed the children’s Fanny’s at Chez Panisse Cookbook and the Supper Cookbook by Cunningham unfortunately on high acid paper. The cookbook lady took everything else of interest.
Rarely do we have so many cookbooks in the store at one time. We do have a lot of hardbound fiction that I won’t read myself. Novels with unhappy endings, novels that all say “bestseller” on their covers, books on how to please your boss, and endless romances in every guise flock to my shelves….and don’t always go out. We discard something that’s sat on the shelf after three months. Month before last, we had two mountains of books go to Father Joe’s St. Vincent de Paul’s. Last month, we had one giant mountain of books go to Father Joe’s.
Worst of all. I bring books home every time I work at the store. I reversed the trend this week by bringing home two hardbounds and taking two bags full to the shop. I have to be honest with myself. I’m never going to read poetry by Edgar Guest. I’m not into particularly bloody mysteries despite the fact that I love Box. His writing transcends the fact that his blood and gore out uglies everyone else’s. And I’m tired of grim works though I have just finished the newest Crais. Now that was beyond grim.
Something in me is changing, perhaps diminishing in some fashion. I find myself skimming books. Oh, shame on me. And I no longer keep every book that comes in to the house. Perhaps my brain is just simpler in it’s aging. I will keep the Crais as I keep all the Stephanie Plums. Yes, that film was really delightful. G loved it too. Yes, now there’s something worth bringing home and keeping just like all the books.