Thursday, May 22, 2008

Buying Books

CB was here recently for a visit, and we went to the local Barnes and Noble to see if we could find a decent field guide for Colorado birds. Of course we worked our way around the science and nature section, and I found several books that looked interesting. Alas, the prices were such that I hesitated, and then decided not to purchase anything. It was about $25.00 for a hardback and $15.00 for a paperback.

It got me thinking about my relationship with books. I've had, hmm, let's see, 14 years of post-high school education, so I've made use of a lot of books over the years. I'm not ashamed to admit that I really looked forward to purchasing books each semester, especially in graduate school, where the subject matter was more consistently to my liking. I'd page through the books over the next few days and feel like I was in possession of a sort of treasure.

The downside of all the reading for educational purposes, was that I've been ingrained with the idea that reading for pleasure is an extravagance I cannot afford. I thought this feeling would go away about 2 hours after I graduated this last time (which was two years ago) but I'm sorry to say it hasn't, which indicates to me I need to do something about it. I sincerely believe that being in the middle of a good book is one of life's sublime pleasures, and one I've been missing out on.

I supposed it's a slightly different issue than kvetching about how expensive books are, but it's related. I feel like for the price, I need to make the commitment to read the book and for that price I'd better well like it! Maybe I need to loosen my expectations a bit.

In contrast, let's look at CB's relationship with books. He owns a lot of them. His bedroom has 4 floor-to-ceiling book cases, and they are pretty full. Lots of the books are bird books of one kind or another, and they serve as a reference library for his work. He's got other kinds of books too, but the point is, he sees books as an investment. A tangible something that can be used more than once. I like this attitude.

I tend to run out of time and energy at the end of the day such that I don't read before bed. I just sort of fall in and go to sleep. I'm thinking of maybe trying to get to bed a little earlier to have some reading time before bed. I'm still not ready to plop down $25 on a whim, but I'd like to think I could work towards getting a little more that way. As in, seeing a good read for that much, and deciding it's worth it, even though it's $25.

Suggestions for the next purchase, anyone?

image: invisibleman

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Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.