some people buy shoes (a prequel)

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my latest purchases

I buy books.

I used to feel guilty that I didn’t use the library, but no longer. I look at it this way. By buying a book I’m supporting a writer. If I buy from an independent bookstore, I’m supporting them as well. It’s an investment in what I believe in, with something in it for me.

The thrill of opening a package from Powell’s or Amazon. Or just bringing a bag home from Barnes and Noble, our only local bookstore–reaching in to pull out the books. I run my hand over the smooth cover, breathe in the smell of paper and ink, flip through the carefully printed and as yet unmarked pages.

In March I had to change planes in Paris on my way to Positano, Italy, for the Sirenland Writers Conference. I was sitting next to a 10-year-old boy. As we circled Paris preparing to land, we caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower (which I’ve seen many times since I lived in France for a year), but I don’t know who was more excited–the little boy or me. Every time I see the Eiffel Tower, I’m as excited as I was the first time. That’s the way it is with a new book.

Hence the problem of shelving.

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29 thoughts on “some people buy shoes (a prequel)

  1. Good for you! It has occurred to me when checking out books from the library that I am not supporting the authors, but I go through about a book a week, hence the gratitude to the public library. If anything, it is the kids books that I seem to lack complete self-control in. And shoes. I have to admit I love shoes 🙂

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  2. I buy the book after I’ve test driven it at the library and then at the only independent book store left in town.

    If I didn’t like the book, no waste of money. If I like it, I write it down for my spouse to buy me for b-day or Christmas.

    If it’s a used book sale at the library, then I go hog wild. I’ll even buy a book for it’s pretty cover; it’s only a dollar.

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    • Reading a book first at the library is a brilliant idea. Except I just thought of one problem with that. If I like it, I won’t be able to underline and make little notes in the margins. How do you handle that?

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      • Cynthia, whenever I read about your underlying and making notes in your books I am a little jealous! There is no way I could ever do such a thing – even in my textbooks I had the hardest time ever writing in them! I have always coveted my books too much. When I was a kid I lent a friend a book and I made her replace it because she had creased the spine! Talk about annal!

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        • Well, Jennifer, I don’t turn the pages down to mark my place. And I just about die if the cover gets bent (I even have a post on this: https://catchingdays.cynthianewberrymartin.com/2009/02/10/a-bent-cover/). I’ve been known to buy a fresh copy and give the other one away. For some of my books, I have a lending copy.

          But I’ve always underlined and made tiny little notes. It’s the way I bond and interact with my books (kind of like making comments on blogs : )) I love it when a writer says something just right and I don’t want to ever lose that. Underlining helps me make sure I don’t.

          Of course, Linda, buying a paperback to write in is way normal. We all have to draw the line somewhere.

          And sorry if you received this more than once–strange technological things are happening. Ten plus service trucks on the street.

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      • oh, i soooo couldn’t handle writing in my books!! even if it was a second, paperback copy.
        i want my books to be perfect. even the ones i pick up at used book sales (which is actually how i buy a lot of them).
        but, everyone bonds differently with books, as you say.
        i know one person who doesn’t feel good unless she’s bent the spine and worn in the book. makes her feel like the book’s been truly read…
        i’m cringing at the thought.. lol

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  3. What do I buy too much of? Books. Definitely books.

    And office supplies. Paper and pens and notebooks and notepads and paperclips and those spring clips (I don’t remember what they’re called) — the really tiny ones. I love those.

    And bags. Leather bags and canvas bags, mostly, to carry my books and office supplies, of course.

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    • Peg, so glad you stopped by! We must be kindred spirits. I so love office supplies. When I was little, I used to spend all my time at Woolworth’s on the two little aisles with the pads and the pens. Right this minute I have a drawer full of notebooks! I had forgotten all about this little issue of mine until you mentioned it. And my purse situation extends to tote bags and leather bags and I’m afraid to luggage as well. Somehow concentrating on books, I had suppressed all the rest. It’s strange to think there’s someone almost as weird as me out there. Do you happen to collect the little sets of shampoo and lotion that you get at hotels?

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      • I collect the little bottles … that’s just thrifty. LOL

        But now that you mention it, I have to avoid too many trips to office supply stores because I want everything. (Same goes for hardware and garden supply shops.) So maybe that’s why I avoid buying too much … I just keep my eyes closed in dangerous territory.

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      • Don’t even get me started on my luggage collection. And yes, I have boxes and boxes of hotel soaps and shampoos. I’d like to say it’s because I’m thrifty, but I rarely use them!

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        • Yes, Linda, as Peg has mentioned, I’m not actually using them so I’m not being thrifty.

          I’m keeping them together with all the rest of their family–the conditioner, the lotion, the matching cotton balls, etc. Weird but true. I’m working on it.

          Thanks, Peg, for saying it before I had too. We are so kindred spirits. Funny, isn’t it?

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    • hey peggy, happy to see another comment from you! My cheese and wine doesn’t stay around long enough for me to notice if I’ve bought too much of it or not! But I’m afraid plants fall in the animal category for me–as in, not so much.

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  4. Until recently, I never had the notion I could write in a book. I want to study my favorites and mark spots of interest, but when it comes down to it, I lose my nerve. Maybe if I try Linda’s idea and buy a duplicate just for that purpose then maybe.

    Also, if it’s a good enough book to make me want to do that, I find myself reading it twice for the purpose of markup, only for me to lose myself in the reading and forget my original purpose.

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    • Try using a pencil the first few times. Then you can erase if you need to. Check out the cool pencils I use on the Things page at the top of the blog.

      I cannot read a book without a pen or a pencil in my hand. Cannot. I’m afraid something will be lost to me forever.

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      • You have me seeing this in a new light, Cynthia. For a while I had a little journal where I jotted down things I wanted to remember from specific books…but that didn’t last long. I am not organized enough for that sort of thing (although I like to pretend I am lol)

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        • I tried a notebook too. Mine didn’t last long either. It was the extra step that got me–the writing it down.

          But I do still have mine–5X7, loose-leaf, alphabetized by author’s last name (as you might imagine). It’s fun to look through and makes me wish I’d stuck to it. Perhaps I’ll get back to it one of these days. : )

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  5. i’m horrible about buying books.
    i do take things out at the library, but if i adore a book, i end up returning it and then buying it so i have my own copy.
    i have a thing for actually owning books.
    i love everything you said about them.
    i love staring at them, flipping through them, making lists of them….
    i love that i have such a large selection to choose from. i have read many of them, but i just keep buying and buying. it’s like i’m addicted. in fact, i just placed an amazon order this morning. and i bought a book at b&n a few days ago.

    thank you for giving me an extremely good *excuse* to give my guy for buying so many books!! he’s a writer, as well (music), and will appreciate that i’m helping out other authors. heck, if we don’t do it, no one will purchase our books when they’re out, right?!??

    -e*

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    • Oh, yes, I love making lists of books too and reading other people’s lists of them. If you have time, let us know how you shelve them. Do you separate the ones you’ve read from the ones you haven’t? Are they all in one room? Do you write in them? And as for your last question, right!

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      • I don’t have enough room for all my books to be in one room!!!
        I have an armoire, a built-in, and a standing bookshelf in the living room. I have stacks on the sofa table and the end tables. There’s a chair next to my bed that accumulates clothes and books. And, I took over the shelves in one of the kid’s rooms. I also have a small shelf next to my desktop. My books are everywhere!!
        I shelve based on genre or category. I have one shelf dedicated to classics. One entire shelf in the armoire is all my Stephen King hardbacks. I have a shelf that’s just scary stuff. I have a true crime section, a fantasy section. Then I have my girlie books (not that I have many).
        They’re all intermingled a bit, but I can still find what I want a lot easier this way. Strangely, I don’t do them alphabetically. It’d be way too difficult. I only do that for dvd’s..

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        • I love that books have taken over your house. Shelving by genre or category seems to fit in a house of books.

          We have books all over our house as well, but all my “real” books are in my study, except for one Anita Brookner that matches our bedroom so is on a table in there, and all of my books in my husband’s waiting-to-be-read stack.

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          • I love it, too. Not so sure my guy does, though 😉
            The first picture on my blog is of some books I used because I needed them to make the lamp taller, and I chose them by dust jacket color.
            Other than that, they are done pretty much by genre or TBR or something of the like.
            Thanks for the link =)
            Maybe I’ll get more visitors!!

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