Sunday, July 22, 2007

heaven is a used bookstore

yesterday morning i went to get some freecycled moving boxes from a woman in alviso. i've never been to alviso and didn't know what to expect.

what an odd little area. it started off with prefab condos and quickly moved into a collection of withered, stained homes. my boxes ended up coming from a place somewhere inbetween, an apartment complex with a very friendly grey husky tied outside.

it was pretty quiet, and being out on a marsh i can see why people would enjoy the relative solitude. but as i headed back, driving past a run-down cafe and grocery store, it seemed like the kind of place that could get unseemly at night.

on the way back i stopped at borders, planning to get scrumptious coffee and a new book. the coffee, superb. but after 90 minutes of delicious lingering over more books than i could count, seconds before a cashier offered to ring me up, i left empty-handed.

why? because i couldn't make myself pay $14 for a 176-page book. not when i was burning to also buy a $7 368-page book and $14 160-page book at the same time. not when i knew i could go to a used bookstore, spend the same amount (or less) scrilla to get twice as many books.

which is why i went home, got min and we went to recycled books, in san jose. i hadn't been there before, but it won my heart immediately by having an orange cat and a gigantic '$.99 and up' bookshelf just inside the doorway. in the end i got several books i'd been wanting, including one from a very funny fellow, and another promising one about old new york.

in the end, 7 books for less than the price of 3. hard to beat. plus, i love the smell of used books. they have a history. sometimes you even get a peek at it, like the complimentary local-oregon-bookstore bookmark that popped out of my new york book.

i know that authors don't get any royalties off used books. yes that bothers me. but to be honest, not having something to read bothers me more. if i were *really* a skinflint i'd only use the library. i'm still doing my part for capitalism, and in the meantime, i'm learning which authors are so good that i'll even buy them new. if i want you enough, i WILL have you. first run.


gs said...

=heaven is a used bookstore=

Amen, sister Heather, amen.

When I was much younger and had much more free time on my hands (as young people always seem to do -- I haven't exactly figured out where free time goes away to when you get older, but it's someplace -- Poughkeepsie, maybe), I used to spend hours in used book stores. Heaven, indeed!

heather said...

the kiddies have time because they don't have jobs. ;-) but we adults can take time out for a bit of heaven once in a while, and i'm so very glad i did.