Book Purge 2016

Book Purge 2016

I knew I have a lot of books. Hard not to notice when I have five full bookcases, plus three knee-high stacks that live on the floor and a short stack on my nightstand.

And the miscellaneous collections tucked in my nightstand, my workbag, my purse and in the back of my car.

Still, I hadn’t realized how much they’d taken over until I walked into 7’x7’ space I call my home office. Most, I don’t even remember buying. No idea where they came from or how long I’ve had them.

I also realized that I hadn’t been in my office in quite some time because it was overcrowded with my books; no room for me to be comfortable.

So, I decided to purge.

Brutally.

I began by searching “how to purge books” online because clearly I had no idea how to get it done or I wouldn’t be surrounded in the first place.

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A visit to Paradise: The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair

There is no friend as loyal as a book.
— Ernest Hemingway

Let’s define “a good weekend.” It includes a Saturday during which you get to freely roam through fully stocked rare book dealer booths from rare book dealers from across the nation and some of Europe.

Why is that so awesome? Because you get carte blanche to hold, smell and admire more rare books than you’d get to anywhere else.

And I got to this past weekend at the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair.

It was my first time at one of these book fairs. A fact clearly communicated to all and sundry by my wearing my Mickey Mouse jacket and everyone else wearing black leather or tweed jackets. And the fact that I hopped up and down in excitement and whispered “oooOOOOooo” when I first entered the doors.

Given my love for books, my fantasies of what it would be like were the bibliophile’s equivalent of a 14 year-old girl’s daydreams of Care Bears riding unicorns through fields of cotton candy.

Reality was better. I got to wander up and down a sea of aisles full of some of the most incredible books I may never see again. Even better, I got to touch them. And smell them — yet another indicator that this was awesome and new and that there was solid chance someone would have to drag me kicking and screaming to get me leave. Ever.

But I digress.

I’m talking rare books that range from $300 to $126,000. Continue reading

The day I met author Linda Joffe Hull

Eternally-21About a month ago, I got to meet an author. Live. In person. Face to face. We even shook hands.

Her name? Linda Joffe Hull. Her book? Eternally 21.

Even though social media often gives us closer, more immediate access to today’s authors, you don’t usually expect to meet one in person. Especially not on your lunch break when you wander into a bookstore (the Seattle Mystery Bookshop in this case).

Now let me be clear — Mrs. Hull is not paying me for this post. I doubt she’ll ever know I even wrote it. Same goes for the Seattle Mystery Bookshop although I freely admit to loving that store. Even if you don’t read mysteries, it has something for you and the staff knows where it is.

Which is how I met Mrs. Hull. Continue reading

Keeping Silent: A Book Lover’s Personal Victory

The love of books is among the choicest gifts of the gods.
– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Beads of perspiration crowned my brow. I cringed with every crack of the poor book’s spine, every wrinkle of its pages. The offender gentleman sitting across from me on the train took no notice, the volume on his iPod drowning my silent struggle.

Over and over in my head, I repeated: It’s his book. I can’t tell a stranger how to read his own book. Just be glad he’s reading. Not enough people do. I must keep quiet. Must…keep…quiet…

My book became my timeout corner as I stuck my nose between the pages, determined not to come out until I knew I could behave myself. Yet, I still kept peeking to offer the abused book my silent sympathy.

Why the agony?

Apparently I was emotionally scarred as a child. Growing up, Mom and I frequented libraries; they were our only steady supply of books because we had neither the money to buy them nor the space to keep them.

Here’s a little known fact: Some librarians get cranky when you damage their books. And back in my day, being eight years old was no excuse. And the lessons those librarians taught me have stuck.

Must…keep…quiet…

I wanted (so badly) to show this man how to properly handle a book. Nix that. I wanted to rescue that poor book from a fate as a pile of soggy papers strewn in the gutter. I wanted to take it home where it would be safe, cared for and respected.

I didn’t know the title of the book, but I knew I could provide a better home for it.

After the sixth time he cracked the book’s spine, I looked around for another seat. But it was the evening rush hour. There were no vacancies: I was trapped.

Must…keep…quiet…

Half an hour later, the train came to its first stop. I winced as he dog-eared his place, stuffed the book into his backpack (bending the front cover in half!) and left.

As he faded down the aisle and out into the cool evening air, I released a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding. I then lowered my shoulders from around my ears and relaxed my legs so that my feet could touch the ground.

But I did it. I hadn’t said anything. Because he does have the right to read his book however he wants. And I am thankful that he was reading because I don’t think enough people do.

But, if I’m ever interrogated (an unlikely scenario to be sure), I am clearly screwed. All they’d have to do is dog-ear a page and I’d sing like a canary.

Readers and Writers: Two Sides of the Same People

I cannot live without books.
– Thomas Jefferson

Book shopping is like being plopped in a pile of fluffy puppies and told to take your pick. And that you don’t have to stop at just one.

The moment my fingers brush the door handle, the books inside chirp like we’re finally being reunited after I foolishly strayed off course during migration. “What took you so long? We missed you.”

As I open the door, the sweet waft of paper and promise shoots straight to my brain. Where it obliterates every iota of financial responsibility and spatial common sense.

Space? Of course I have space. It’s just a teeny tiny paperback. Even across state (and Canadian) lines, I can hear my army of bookcases cough “bullshit!” in practiced unison.

As I walk the aisles, my mouth opens and eyes widen in awe of the talent that created these bound wonders. I can hear faint whispers of “chooseme chooseme chooseme.”

I don’t stand a chance against their siren’s song.

I select my newest treasure with reverence, and my heart races as my feet compel me to the register.  I went in for one $5 journal, but I come out at least three books happier and poorer.

Since going freelance, I’ve met several fellow copywriters. And we all share this same addiction affection, even if our favored genres and subjects differ.

Books come with the territory of being what we are—keepers of the written word.

There’s an exception to every rule, but I’ve not yet met that writer. If I do, I’m not sure I could relate. Our topic of conversation will quickly turn to the weather.

How deep does your love of books run? What are some of your favorites?