No More Know It All

If I had an extra room in my apartment, I’d want to impulsively fill that room with books.  There are people that have these kind of rooms and I know because I love to look at them through the windows in Brooklyn Heights – versions of personal libraries, complete with rolling stack ladders for reaching shelves close up to the ceiling. I’ve always wanted to be one of these people.

The fantasy started early at about eight or nine years old.  There was a neighborhood bookstore and I loved when we visited, in part because I got time alone and in part because I could learn things my parents wouldn’t tell me.  Like what happened after puberty, when the special feelings started for boys and girls.

In elementary school I’d walk to the public library and spend time curled up in the oversized leather chairs reading plastic covered copies of Cosmo and Edith Wharton novels. Maybe that’s not true about Edith Wharton.  I wasn’t that advanced.

The collecting started after high school; books for English class stayed in my bedroom at home until after college and books from college are probably still on that same bookshelf at my parent’s house now.  And with each NYC move, my adult books came with me – the number of boxes growing over the years.

Now I’m going to try out some new rules. Books I’d want a friend to read or books that I’d read again are keepers.  Anything else goes.

It’s not that I have too many books.  I probably have about 80 all told – and that’s down from say 120 about two years ago.  Hell, I’ve even been known to read books right there in the bookstore, from start to finish, rather than buy them and bring them home.  Murakami’s Kafka On The Shore – steel stool, St.Mark’s bookstore.  Patty Smith’s Just Kids – leather couch, Court Street book.  Bossypants, Tina Fey – carpet, Barnes and Noble Union Square.

It’s true, reading hard covers in book stores is mostly just frugal.  Hard cover books are often times just hype, so buying them for authors that don’t just drive me absolutely bananas with happiness is a waste.  But also, book stores, or places filled with knowledge, are place I find comforting – and it’s hard to let that go.


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