I buy books by the pound. I love the friends of the Library sale, because I do not even look. It comes down to how many I can carry. Ultimately it does not really matter what I am even finding there. I am just buying books. Books man, books.
When you think about it a book is an amazing thing. No book, not any of them, comes easy. Each and every one of them is a chunk of work. Whether it is a ghost writer working for Tom Clancy and that King fellow, or it is a small press author and their first collection of poetry. These are words on a page that have been written down, typed out, checked over by lots and lots of people, and typeset, printed up, bound, and covered, and mailed to you. There is editing for grammar, structure, art…there is art choices…like fonts, they choose fonts you know. I found that out after college. Choices are made as to lay out, page breaks, all of it, graphics are chosen, photos are taken.
If it is a non fiction work, the information is checked for the most part. I think at least to acknowledge that it is possible, and could be the way the author is writing it up.
And I eat it up.
Books are the passing of narrative, perspective, the collected information of our planet. Do not even get me started in on the politics of being a reader. It is in fact an act of rebellion in 2006 to read books, when our own president talks about how he has not read a book in 20 years. You read, you mean to be smart. You mean to exercise your brain in new and exciting ways. You seek to find your own adventures, and god knows the world at large looks down on that sort of thing.
So I buy books buy the pound. In my hometown we have two great bookstores, for me at least. Et Als, and Jankes. These are two vastly differant things, two vastly different experiences. Et Als is my literary opium den. Sights abound that spin my head, first editions rise above the smoke and dust jackets float in the air tantalizing readers.
Janke’s seems like my Grandmother. Dignified, quiet, and powerfully smart. Just sort of lingering there, knowing more than me, and more mature than I am ever going to be. Jankes is where I buy Parker Jotters. Jankes is a place that I need to be the best version of myself. I cannot talk loud, I cant tell off color jokes or curse. Jankes is a place where you need to behave, and damn if that is not refreshing in my life…I do not behave that well that often.
For me, Al Post, the owner of Et Al’s is my barkeep. My addiction enabler. My dream warrior, and my crusty captain on the high seas of reading. I do not have to tell Al what I want anymore. Like a bartender, you just say, “I want a dark beer” and you trust your bartender to know as much if not more than you about that dark beer idea. I can call Al and tell him I want the books by Robert Baer, and where should I start. A few days later Al calls me and tells me the books are in. I come in, and I do not know exactly what I am getting…but it is a good spot to start. Al and I have become friends over the years, and I have faith in Al, and I think Al knows how I read. Like a bartender knows how I would drink.
I read books by the pound. Books are magic. And I thank my bookstore dealers, and my libraries for everything they do for me.