Every night after work I get on the train and tell a car full of strangers something about me. I don’t tell them that I’m married, don’t tell them that I can’t cook or love music. As quiet as it’s kept, I don’t know what I tell them, but by pulling out a book – an old school, hard cover, book with paper pages – people can see what I’m reading and make some assumptions about me based on what I’m reading.
I love to read. I love books. I love the smell of them, the feel of them, turning the pages. I particularly love library books because it’s fun to think about what the reader before you thought of page 99 and what the reader after you may think about you and the coffee stain you left on page 232.
I’ve been reading since I was five, four probably if you asked my parents and collecting books since then. This being the modern age, one is rarely connected to the childhood home of their youth so packing and storage units and packing and cross country moves can reek havoc on the best collections. I have managed though to save some gems, a couple of my Dr. Seuss books, a Pippi Longstocking paperback and my first copy of Catcher in the Rye are still around. My son has both my copy and my husband’s copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It’s in a box somewhere because we just moved, but he’s got them.
After years of loving books, looking at books and going back and re-reading books that I’ve owned for years I’ve decided to take the plunge and get an e-reader. Storage is an issue, living light and packing light is an issue. We’ve moved two times since 2008 and while I love the memories of “things”, I’ve realized that the only things I need to make a home are the two men that share my life. So there will be an e-reader in the future. I’m sure this won’t be the end of my book collecting. I just bought the latest in Stieg Larsson’s “Girl” trilogy. But I’m looking forward to downloading a diverse group of titles, saving storage space and not giving anything up to fellow commuters about my love of most things English or my desire to learn new tricks from Zane.
Lisa Coffman is a long time supporter of CWUW and blogger for the Live Life Well blog