The Lovely Books


“It smells like old books in here,” I said to my sister as we got in her car. We were just leaving a local college’s annual book bazaar.

“Yeah,” she said, with the satisfied grin only a bibliophile who’s just scored armloads of cheap books can give.

Earlier, we had darted happily into the throng of other book lovers at the bazaar.  She headed straight to the tables marked “Biographies” and “Civil War” and I  over to “Classics” and “Science Fiction and Fantasy.”

My sister is the person I credit for instilling in me a love of books. Growing up, books were the one luxury we could afford.

Scouring second-hand bookstores, garage sales, bargain bins at department stores, gleefully choosing ten books for a dollar from those mail-order book clubs,  even staring woefully at the meager offerings of our tiny local library in our equally tiny town, remain some of the best memories of my teen years.

My sister, who is fifteen years older than me, introduced me to Stephen King’s Carrie when I was twelve. I’d liked books before that, but Carrie was different. Never before had a book grabbed me, dragged me in and not let go until the last page. From then on I was hooked, not just on Stephen King, though I read him steadily for many years, but book of all kinds. From classics to trashy pulp novels, reading was my favorite way to spend my time.

I remain awestruck by good writers and the power they wield to transfix and transport a reader into adventures, loves and lives from long ago or  last week.  From James Joyce’s and Faulkner’s convolutions to the stunning simplicity of Willa Cather and Hemingway, and of course the literary love of my life, Jane Austen, books and their stories continue to enrich and add layers to my life like no other media has ever has.

“You know, ” my sister said as we drove out of the parking lot, “neither of us needs more books.”

“Oh, I know,” I replied. “It’s just that we need more books.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pat Hinds
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 07:40:27

    You nailed it, Sis…

  2. bbrasseaux
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 11:57:22

    I actually bowed out on this year’s Book Bizarre. For once I heeded my own advice of not “needing any more books.” Instead, I’m making room for next year’s ;), to have “a need” of course.

    • lorettacasteen
      Sep 15, 2010 @ 14:08:53

      Ah, but I did a “pick ‘n purge” long before the sale. The local library is always willing to take the books I don’t want anymore. (The one exception being romance novels. Two other English Club members and I found that out when we tried to purge the paperback romances from the book room at LSUS. Only Goodwill would take them.)
      Plus, we now have a rented storeroom. It’s just until we get a new storage building built ( so we think). I’d taken so many of my books over there my house felt bare without them. Now, some people might think the answer would be to go to the storeroom, get my books and bring them back home. Nah, it’s better to just go buy some more. 🙂

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