This interesting essay about unwanted books is well-written and fascinating.
I love books, bookstores, and libraries. My mother is a librarian and worked for many years in the Dallas Independent School District, primarily at Phyllis Wheatley Elementary. My brother and I as children were initiated into the arcane lore of the Dewey Decimal System at a very early age. We both learned to read prior to kindergarten.
Mom also taught us, as well as our children, the correct way to turn a page and yes, there is a correct way. You carefully select the top page of your book from the upper right hand corner and tenderly draw your finger towards you along the edge of the page as you turn it. It's not hard, but it is specific and intentional. It teaches you to value not only the words, but to respect the physical repository itself, the actual book.
I love the crisp, fresh smell of a new book, both hardbacks and paperbacks. And I also like the musty smell of an old book, especially one that has perhaps not been cracked for decades. I have a small collection of antique hymnals that I love to read through from time to time.
I own quite a few books and, generally, I am loathe to part with any of them, even the bad ones. Some of my favorites are obscure, old novels like John Brick's The Rifleman and Piers Anthony's Sos the Rope. Some I read over and over, like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. For others, only once is necessary, like Neal Stephenson's excellent but exhausting Baroque Cycle trilogy .
I have a special bookshelf on which sits those waiting to be read. Currently in que we find Tony Dungee's autobiography, Donald Miller's Through Painted Deserts, Julia Cameron's The Right to Write, Philip Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew, and, I think, some random John Grisham novel.
Like most bibliophiles, I have classics on the shelf that I need and want to read, and I have stupid, poorly written trash that I rather wish I hadn't read. I like what I like and I feel no compulsion to pretend that I like books that I don't like. I don't care for the writing of either Bill Bryson or Dave Eggers, for example, in spite of how popular they are. Some of my current favorite authors include John Scalzi, Neal Stephenson, William Blake, and Donald Miller. In the recent past, they have included William Gibson, Bruce Feiler, Randy Alcorn, and Michael Chabon.
My brother has the largest collection of science fiction and fantasy books that I have ever seen or heard of. And, of course, they are carefully organized and properly shelved . Mine used to be similarly arranged, but some maintenance is currently required. Fortunately, my mom doesn't come into my home office wherein my books reside.
I keep an ongoing list of books that I want to read and at this time of year, especially, I like to give and receive books as gifts. I also enjoy buying a new book at the airport, when I'm on my way to fly somewhere, knowing that I'll be held inert and captive for a couple of undisturbed hours. Except for my Bible, I seldom take any books with me when I travel, specifically so that I can indulge in this little spontaneous pleasure.
What are your favorite books? Either something you have recently read that moves you, or something you read in years past that has stuck with you in some way or another. Some books, read at the right time of life, can really shape the way we think and the way we see the world. What books do that for you?