What libraries mean to me

Of course I'm referring to several libraries.  The paper library in my house and my ebook library on my server.  And the public libraries I've always depended on.  When I was a kid, in Sylacauga.  In college, the University of Alabama.  Then Dallas and now here in Birmingham.

Before the internet, when I was unsure of something, needed and wanted more information, I relied on my public library.

I've been reading a lot lately.  Reading and rereading William Gibson & Neal Stephenson of course.  Neil Gaiman and Phillip K. Dick are the latest.  Short stories if I don't feel like getting into a novel.  And a lot of other content by many other authors, I don't feel like listing everything.  Mostly fiction.  Some non-fiction if the mood strikes.

For my 40th birthday, I bought myself a Kindle Voyage.  I **LOVE** it.   Used a regular Kindle before, but the Voyage is so beyond the regular Kindle as far as features, particularly the backlight.  Never thought I'd be able to transition from paper to an ebook so easily, but once I did, never going back.

If you're worried about not being able to immerse yourself into a book with a Kindle like how you do on paper, believe me, that's not a concern.  It's a bit of an adjustment for a few minutes and then you'll be kicking yourself for holding out.

I'm reading just for fun nowadays, so maybe it would be different if I were an English major now.   Back then, I made so many margin notes and highlights.

Let me tell you that there are two books I'll never read again.  "The Scarlet Letter" and "Moby Dick"  I must have read "The Scarlet Letter" about 5 times between high school and college.  THAT'S ENOUGH!  And then "Moby Dick" is way too long, one feels like having been on a 5 year long sea voyage after getting through it.  Took that cruise, not fun, not again.  Don't make me write another paper about the symbolism.  It's somehow always about Jesus and phallic symbols.

Somewhat Amusing anecdote

A few years ago before we installed curtains, anyone could see into the front room of my house from the street.  My glorious bookcase with the fruits of my English degree and then *so many hardback classics* I found at the far North Dallas Goodwill (rich people who just tossed out stuff without realizing what it was).

One night, we were watching TV and a Lexus SUV parked in front of the house.  Hmm, are they lost?  No, a man got out and knocked on our door.  "Are those books for sale?"  He sounded embarrassed to ask, his wife put him up to it, she didn't dare get out of the SUV.

I was a bit flummoxed, I didn't even ask how much he'd offer.

"Sorry, no, my books are not for sale."

He was expecting that, then went back down to his vehicle to his disappointed wife.

But I knew that lady just wanted some books to decorate her house, she didn't care what they were.  She saw a "bohemian looking bookshelf" through my window and wanted that for herself without curating the collection, without reading anything.  And thought I'd part with it for money.

I've toted around my books between many apartments and now my house, it's always the worst part of moving, so many heavy boxes.

Nowadays, I curate my library online, I have an extensive collection there as well.  You can't see it in my living room, all my lovely ebooks, available to anyone with an ereader.  Lives on my server, doesn't weigh anything.  And I can share a book with a friend without any worries about getting it back.

But I'll still never give up my hard won paper collection.  Well, maybe some of the trashy paperbacks, I should post those on Craigslist.

Let John Waters tell you what's up.

Leave a Reply