Saturday, March 24, 2007

Buying Books

Books are too freaking expensive. For years I didn't buy any new hardcover books, except for gifts, but managed to fill all available book shelves with used books and paperbacks. (My book-storage secret: build a long shelf all the way around a room at the top of the windows. It's wasted space -- you might as well fill it with books.)

Then I started working at an independent bookstore. It's bad enough that I spend the day handling and shelving and flipping through all the cool new books, but I get a discount AND feel like I'm supporting the store when I buy books. I no longer have any resistance whatsoever. It feels almost like a compulsion, like gambling.

Today, even though I'm still reading The Lay of the Land and De Lillo's Falling Man and Julian and George and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Jenny Diski's Stranger on a Train, I bought a new book that I found mysteriously irresistible: Tom McCarthy's Remainder. I'd never heard of the guy, or the book, but every page I opened to seemed full of great little bits and small thrills. I can imagine one might experience the same sense of impending pleasure when buying a lotto scratch ticket.

I'll tell you what it feels like: it feels like all the books are going to disappear and I have to gather as many as possible before they're gone. It's nuts, I know. But there is definitely something in the air.

No comments: