Thursday, July 21, 2011


I used to buy a lot of books. I would spend hours every month prowling the shelves, reading blurbs. Checking reviews. Buying anything that I thought might be a good read.

Not anymore.

Not because I love reading any less, but because I am getting to the point where I only want to collect books that I already love. Which means, in my case, that I would like to read them again.

I still peruse the bookshelves, read the reviews and book jacket blurbs. But now I add them to a list. Books I Want to Read.

Usually I check them out from the library, I love that almost every book on my list is available from the library. Due in large part to the ILL (Inter Library Loan.)

Then there are the books from the recycling center. I read the blurb, or in many cases, as there no longer is a book jacket; the first few paragraphs. I can usually tell by the first few pages if I am going to like it or not. Not the story, the style. The story takes at least a few pages to develop, but the author's style will remain constant.

The books I get from there will either be read and donated, kept or altered. Sad, but true, for many books the recycling center is the last stop.

There are 3 types of books I have discovered at the recycling center;

  1. Library Discards: books that are just too old for the library, have a slight musty smell or they have too many copies . These are all fine, they will probably end up in someone's collection. 
  2. Personal Collections: these also are usually fine to add to a reader's collection. They may be dog-eared and doodled in, but otherwise readable.
  3. Destined for the Landfill: some are obviously damaged; warped, torn, missing covers. Foreign. Outdated, like law books or school books. Old atlases. 
I actually try to save as many of the latter as possible. The only ones I cannot save are the moldy ones. I have boxes of books in the attic earmarked for altering. I just didn't want to see them get thrown away. No wonder that one of my favorite school art projects was Trash to Treasure. 

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