Last week my Bride and I purchased ninety-three books. Our library is already overflowing, quite literally. There’s no room for more volumes of anything on those shelves. We have boxes of books stacked in the hallway.
Why did we purchase more books?
When my Bride and I married, we were both avid book lovers. For our honeymoon we visited the nearest large city (Minneapolis) and ransacked every used bookstore we could find. In those days we knew little about bookscouting (honestly, we still know very little). Yet, we found much joy in finding those little bundles of paper and showing them to each other. For us, it’s an act of romance to haunt the shelves and discover the adventures that await within those covers. We rekindle our romance by hunting for stories that the other will enjoy, or that we can laugh at together, or simply marvel at someone else’s creativity. Those piles of books in our home are not about the books themselves, though we both revel in story.
Those piles of books are about our love for each other.
And because it’s not strictly about owning the books, but our expression of love… we throw ourselves into finding books as gifts for friends.
We bought ninety-three books. We kept forty. Over half the books we purchased were intended for other people. This, again, brings us much joy. And this year we had a special project. A large chunk of the books we bought for others went to a friend. He’s a teacher and just got a new classroom.
A classroom with no books.
We decided to provide him at least the start of a library. Between this bookcation and other booking trips (my Bride in particular haunts goodwill like the ghost of fashions past), we’ve gotten him well over a hundred books. We found him a bunch of books.
A box set of the Chronicles of Narnia? Check.
A book entitled Whales on Stilts? Why not?
How about a two–volume hardcover collection of Star Wars novels for younger readers? Sure, they’re out of continuity now that Disney owns the rights to all things Skywalker, but they’re still fun to read! Throw them in!
Of course, we also got a whole mess of Redwall and a whole mess of historical fiction, at his request. (School has to have some “redeemable” fiction!) We purchased a choose-your-own adventure based on Pearl Harbor which looks pretty nifty. A book of mathematical brain-teasers and a book of weird patents. A Young Zorro book.
We had so much fun hunting for him. We weren’t looking to expand our own library. We searched to give a teacher a library covering subjects that we wouldn’t necessarily have in our personal library. It presented a great challenge.
You see, for us — well, we love books. Just the very idea of paper imprisoning grand stories that will reveal their narratives to us at our whim — this captures us. But bookcation isn’t really about the books.
It’s about serving others.
It’s about romance.
Books are not just about their stories. For us, they’re so much bigger. Every book tells a story — but they also tell the story of how we found them. Bookcation is more about the latter for us than the former.
Thanks for reading this last week as I put up all these posts. Hope you had a great time. I know I had a great time reviewing all of it, and my Bride has been eager to read the posts and heckle me. Just more fun for us.
Soon enough Seeking New Earth will return to fiction. But for now… thanks for indulging me as I talk about books.