For the Love of an Old Book

Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness. – Helen Keller

There’s nothing like standing in a used bookstore, perusing the titles of old books. Trying to find the perfect novel to read. I love books. The smell. The yellowing pages. The creases in those pages. The broken spines. The history of who read them before me. What they imagined as they took the story in. I visualize them leaving fingerprints on the front and back cover of the book. Did they read the last chapter as I often do? Read it quickly or savor every word? Where did they read it? On the beach? In bed beside a lover? In the car? Where?

I try to read slowly, but I always end up devouring every word. Roger Darling finds it funny that I can have four books going at the same time. I can’t help it. I must read. Everything. I have a Kindle. I don’t like it much. It’s not a book.

I have an unabridged copy of The Stand by Stephen King. He was my favorite author when I was growing up. The book is 25 years old. It’s HUGE! I don’t even have the dust jacket anymore. That’s okay, the spine isn’t broken yet. And I’m the only one that’s read it for the last 25 summers. I read it on the beach every damn summer. Every damn summer. Stu is my hero. But Larry, he is my favorite character. He is so tortured by his past. By his future. By the stand that he will be a part of.

I use my Kindle but it’s not my favorite. It’s not a book that I can hold onto. Feel the pages of. Feel the history of. I’d rather shelves full of old, musty books. Let my Kindle gather dust. Let my bookshelves gather dust. I’ll be sure to displace some of that dust, when I grab my copy of The Stand to read this summer.

27 thoughts on “For the Love of an Old Book

    • I’m glad you felt it. That’s what I want my readers to do. Is feel what I write. I’m glad you did. I’m glad you’re here. The Stand is my favorite. Always will be. Thanks for reading my sweet.

  1. You should have been at our Quaker meeting yard sale yesterday! The big room of the meetinghouse had rows of books on all of the benches (pews), reflecting our widespread range of reading and interests. It was kind of like looking into people’s closets, I guess, except that these are things we’re hoping to share — treasured children’s books, cookbooks, gardening guides, poetry and novels, histories, inspirational, ecological, all moving on into new hands.

    It was especially fun watching shoppers browse and select items, knowing the value they were getting.

    Yes, it’s wonderful, the way an old book can feel and look and still speak to us ever so directly.

  2. I’m happy to hear that you love to read and not on a kindle. The essay is wonderful and appeals to this writer more than you know. Was just sitting on my new chair all afternoon with a little memoir. Got up to stretch my legs to find your essay on reading; serendipitous I believe is the word. About S. King – he spoke at a high school and told all these kids, if you want to write you have to read. He then pulled some paperback from his back pocket and said, “See, I’m never without something to read.” He sounds like Renee.

    • Susannah I like your comment, so much! I agree with serendipity. Very much. I’m with Stephen, I’m never, ever without a book. Never. Maybe that’s why I like to write now.

  3. Pingback: Book Lovers, Anyone? | Two Different Girls

  4. I remember the first time entered an out of print bookstores. The wooden floors would creak every step I made. My dad loved old books and he introduced me to this small bookstores that were treasure chests for books with vintage type binding. One could feel the vibes of the person you had read it last. I have always loved books and I just cannot live in a world without them.

    • I love your comment! The description of the wood floors just got to me. I know exactly what you mean about books. I love an old library too. Walking through the stacks. Getting overwhelmed by the amount of books there are. The aroma of the ink on paper. I love it. Keep reading my dear. I hope you like it here.

  5. I love your post!

    My friends try to keep me away from bookstores when we go out, because it’s really hard to get me out. In my opinion, nothing compares with the feeling of turning the pages, breathing the smell of the ink and paper, and feeling the weight of the book in your hands. I don’t think I could survive if the society decides to make everything digital. My book collection is my biggest pride, and nothing makes me happier than a new book.

    Every time I start a book that gets my attention, no matter how slow I try to read it I end up finishing it way to fast. After that, the feeling when I have to put it back on the shelf…It kinda hurts and not once I cried when finishing a book and having to let go of the characters.

    • Honey I am so with you on getting wrapped up in the characters in a book. There are so many times that I wished I could go back to a book,read it and hope the story has continued on after I put it back on the shelf. One of my favorite books is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. It is my favorite story of love and heartbreak . Read it when you get a chance if you haven’t already. And Gods of Alabama that’s another good one. Cheers my sweet and thanks for reading me!

      • Thank you for the reply and for the recommendations. I started looking for the books, to buy and read.

        That’s why I think I like book series more. Although they’re really painful to finish. If I get to love or hate characters in one book, imagine what three or four can do.

        Cheers and thank you for writing!

      • I finished The Hunger Games last week! It’s freaking awesome! It took my literally all my strength to stop reading while I was at work and when I had to sleep. Everything about that book is really amazing. The characters are so complex and I like that they evolve along with the story.

        I’m gonna stop now, because I’m afraid I won’t stop talking(writing) about it. Beside, I don’t know how much you read and I don’t wanna spoil.

        Enjoy the reading!

      • Well, my next target in series is A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. I love the HBO series and made me more curious about the books than before.

        I’m also reading (I’ve read 6 so far, only two left) Spook’s Books or The Last Apprentice (I don’t know under what name you’ll find them), written by Joseph Delaney. I like the characters and all the descriptions of the “creatures of the dark”. I’m not saying more. Try it. It’s a light, interesting reading.

        I received Twilight as a birthday present and devoured it. I didn’t expect that because the idea of a “shining vampire” kinda made me run away. But putting that aside, the story is really well written.

        Also the Dune series is extremely interesting.

        I tend to read absolutely everything that captures my attention. That means everything from fantasy to romance.
        Last year I read two romance series that I really loved: The Bride Quartet, by Nora Roberts and a series by Mary Jo Putney, but I only know the name in Romanian and I can’t seem to find it in English. When I’ll get home tonight I’ll tell you.

        Let me know if you liked any of my suggestions.


  6. Delicious. If you’re anywhere near Connecticut, the Pequot Library Used Book Sale is coming up at the end of July–the biggest and best in New England! I work it every year partly just to smell the books….(and of course to bring home more to jam onto the shelves. I once read about someone who built an extra bookcase out of books. I know someone who uses her attic stairs as a bookcase….)

    • Oh honey I love the ideas of the bookcases. I wish I had an attic stairs just to use it for a bookcase. I wish I was in Connecticut. I’d certainly show up for the sale and to meet you. Glad you liked the post. Thanks. 🙂

  7. I hope one day to have a room that can be a library so I can get all my books out of the boxes they’re stored in now. One of my most valued and used possessions is my library card. As for my Kindle, true, it’s not a book. But it allows me to take hundreds or more books with my everywhere in my purse. What’s not to like?


    • Hello my Dear,

      I guess you’re right about the Kindle. It does afford one to carry many books at one time. How lucky we are to love reading so much. To feel the words along with reading them. To taste them. Make love to them even. How lucky we are.

      Love, Renee

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