Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"I cannot live without books" --Thomas Jefferson

Books are one of my greatest weaknesses. I think I'd rather buy a good book than a new pair of ballet flats or a new dress, and I really do think that is saying something. I started building my library when I was in grade school and soon began spending my free time not only reading the classics, but buying them from a second-hand book store close to my dad's office, where I worked during my summers. By the time I got to college, I had an impressive collection of classics, mostly novels, as well as plays, poetry and even a picture book on the beat generation by Allen Ginsburg, given to me by two high school friends upon graduation. College (and my nearly insatiable appetite to read and learn) has only pushed me past the cool 200 and up, up and beyond. The weak spot in my collection is a the notable lacking in modern literature, but my job reviewing this summer will soon be fixing that.

Tonight I went into a bookstore, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, for the first time in months. When I say months, I mean it easily could have been January since I last stepped foot or toe inside one. I choose not to because it is rather difficult not to buy a book. I always see one I want and it is usually only pecuniary reasons that stop me (a very good reason, in my book!). I went there in the first place because I have a friend seemingly going through a rough time and, when in doubt (and in general), I give people books as presents. It is my favorite type of present.

The trouble with books as presents, though, is that everyone prefers a different type of book and just because I happen to love it certainly does not mean he or she will. For example, my favorite author is Evelyn Waugh. He is utterly fantastic and witty, writing some of the best satire I've ever read, although he is most famous for "Brideshead Revisited," which Miramax made into a horrible film last summer. I recommend the BBC version with Jeremy Irons. It's long but actually true to the book, unlike the former. I think I've given "Brideshead Revisted" more as a present than any other book, even though "Vile Bodies" and "The Loved One" are my favorite Waugh novels. I ended up no buying him anything simply because I could not make up my mind. One must consider if the recipient will actually enjoy the book and I could not think for the life of me of whether he would or not.

Have no fear, I still bought books! I shouldn't have, but I certainly don't regret my purchases:
"The Power and the Glory" by Graham Greene*
"The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
"The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage" by Paul Elie*
"The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music" by Ted Libbey (as an end of the summer present for my family's enjoyment.)

...and this is why I avoid bookstores, but not completely :) Any books you think I should read, gentle readers? I am always open to recommendations!

*most excited to read!

No comments:

Post a Comment