I've asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?
Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I'm betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I'm betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So ... why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?
If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?
Well, some people do it so that they can write all over their books. Or turn down pages willy-nilly. Yes, Smock, I'm talking about you!
But I do neither of those things, except with some of my "spiritual direction" books. Those I mark.
So, if I don't mark up my books, why buy what I could get for free? I think this is a better question than it appears at first. It's an issue I'm dealing with all the time. How much to keep. What to let go. While I don't have fewer books at the moment, in the end I will have far fewer books than I do now. As I finish books, I'm being more judicious about what stays and what I pass on. At this point, I am not interested in keeping a "general" library. I only want to keep my library. The books I have loved or that have meant much to me. Things that I might reread (though I'm not really much of a re-reader) or might want to put in someone else's hands with a "Here! Read This!"
As I get older, I don't want so much stuff around me. That doesn't keep me from haunting Half Price Books, but I'm more willing to pass things on when I'm done. I've checked out more from the library than I have in the past,
But sometimes it backfires. Acedia and Me is an example. I checked it out of the library, but it turns out I wish I had purchased it. It is something that I think I might look at again.
Maybe it's just the thought process of an old lady. But I wish I had bought fewer, but nicer editions of, books. And used the library WAY more.
I would have thought that heresy 10 years ago.