Jonesing for a good book

by john on September 2, 2003

Jeremy asks if his book fetish is common. I think he’ll get many responses indicating it is, and certainly this is one.

I’ve always been a book person and my family are book people. I grew up with books all around me. I still remember my first real book that I got, according to my mother, the summer after 1st grade. I got The Tower Treasure (Hardy Boys, Book 1) from a coupon in a box of Raisin Bran. That would have been in 1973. Of course I ended up getting the complete set of Hardy Boy books, which my parents still have (or at least better!) somewhere in their house.

In my early years I spent a lot of time in the library feeding my habit. But when I got older and especially after I moved out I started buying them myself and keeping them around. For many, many years I always bought paperbacks. This was purely a financial decision. I would get hardcovers as gifts (book people are very easy to buy for, there has always been a gift certificate somewhere in my Christmas loot) but I’d have to buy paperbacks for myself.

That changed when I got married because while Amy is most definitely a book person and she likes having books displayed on shelves she thinks paperbacks lining the shelves looks like crap. So now I buy hardcover so I can leave them out. I’ve never been good about donating, selling or in other ways discarding a book I’ve bought and most of them are now in storage in plastic crates in the basement. I’m looking at about 20 of them right now. Some day we’ll get the basement finished and I’ll find a way to put up a lot of built in shelves to get those books out of storage and on display. The hardcovers at least. As for the paperbacks I’m sure those will start coming out as my kids get older and they hit those boxes with the fervor of a treasure hunter.

According to Amazon I’ve purchased 181 books from them. Of course some of these were gifts or for work but most, starting with Missing Links which I purchased on September 3rd, 1997, were for yours truly.

I can see that at some point I’m going to have to start doing something with this growing pile of books. Either get them up on a shelf so my kids can benefit from them or start selling them. Maybe if I wait long enough some of them will be worth something. I’ve got a first edition The Big U that currently sells for a few hundred maybe I can find some more of those.

Selling my own books. It’s sort of like stabbing myself in the chest.

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