In light of my previous post, cue the refrain of Creedence: “Before you accuse me…”
Yes, I am a book hoarder. I tried to get therapy but the support group met at the Public Library.
The only sure-fire cure is … a fire. (God forbid.) In vain, I suffer. And binge.
“I only spent six dollars.”
True. Cabbages and Kings and Man-eaters of Tsavo: $1.99 each. Ramona the Brave: 75 cents. Runaway Ralph and Stuart Little: 20 cents each.
“I need new books to read.”
Only about 50% true. I’ve read all three of the kids books many times. I even have a copy of Stuart Little on my shelf already. (But who doesn’t need an extra Stuart Little lying around? For 20 cents? Come on. Tell me you’re not that hard-hearted.)
“I buy books for my kids.”
Lie. Total and complete lie. Yes, Griffin is approaching chapter book readiness but I bought the Cleary books because I wanted to read them. (Again.)
As far as Cabbages and Kings and Man-eaters of Tsavo: well, I bought them because I just like old books. I like the shiny-dusty contrast of embossed gold on worn book covers. I like deckle-edged pages and bright illustration plates peeking through tissue leaves. I like the penciled-in prices and formal insignia of the original booksellers. I like the carefully inked personalization of the original owner. I like the somber weight a stack of old books gives to a shelf of more frivolous decor.
It helps if I want to read them, of course. I had to give this one a try.
William Goldman [INSERT: an awed hush falls over the screenwriters] used this book as the basis for a film which fell flat at the box office. But, hey, I enjoyed it and that’s all that matters.
In the interests of full disclosure, I balked at the price. For $1.99, I could have gotten ten copies of Stuart Little after all. But I couldn’t leave the Old Gentleman to rot on an ignominious shelf of a derelict thrift store until his binding crumbled with despair. It’s a disease, people.
I didn’t start wondering if this book was valuable until after I got home. This may be the only time in history that I’ve actually made money (strictly in theory, of course) while spending money.
I have no plans to actually sell this book but I find some small satisfaction in the knowledge it retained value over the last 80 years better than, say, your average Beanie Baby.
It gives me a little hope for humanity yet.