Posts Tagged ‘True Life’

So teaching a psychology class has made me start looking at my life differently. We just so happen to be watching a bunch of the True Life program from MTV. It has made me feel like my life is somewhat in control compared to other people out there. Well that was until I stopped and looked at one aspect of my life.

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Desk

When I went to Sonoma State, I used to go to nearby downtown Santa Rosa for a book store there. Treehorn Books was located on 4th street. It was amongst a bunch of other shops such as a candy store and a fair trade goods store. This shop couldn’t have been more than 20 feet wide, but it was at least 50 feet deep. It was stoked from the floor to the ceiling with books. The books were in some sort of order, but there were massive amounts of them. My favorite sections, the history and social science books were actually divided from the other sections of the store and in cubicle like rooms of their own. I would spend hours in this store. I would grab one of those little step stools that are so common in bookstores and sit on it and browse the books. I wouldn’t read them in the store, I would just grab them, flip through them, hold them in my hands. There is something significant about holding an item in your hands that another person has spent years researching and writing and a lifetime forming opinions about. Whenever I got a chance I would buy a new book. Now when I say new book, I mean new for me. Someone else had used it before and absorbed its knowledge before me. Books are the ultimate second hand items. The cover make get worn and the pages may turn yellow but the knowledge and stories inside will almost never disappear.

Bookshelf 1

            As the son of a librarian, I grew up holding books to a higher level then many other people around me. I knew the importance of a good book and treating a book right. I knew the importance of showing respect around books. I learned from my mother to be quiet around books. A library is a place that demands silence. Even though bookstores are not libraries, people who go to small bookstores act the same way. They treat it like a library. They are consumed by what they hold in their hands, deep in thought and concentration. That is why I have a hard time going into large cookie cutter bookstores. Barnes & Noble is amazing. It has tons of books and offers them in an appealing way, but there are too many people there. It is too loud. I can’t concentrate enough to even begin to search for a book that I want to spend hours with. The quaintness of a used bookstore will never disappear. There is a companionship between used booksellers and buyers. It is an unspoken fraternity. The silence shows respect to the books and to each other. Don’t think that I am some sort of guy who wants to keep the books for myself and doesn’t want them to be shared with anyone. I want to share my books with everyone, but there are rules that need to be abided by when dealing with books.

Bookshelf 2

My love for books does not stop with traditional written books and novels, it continues to comic books. My favorite comic book store is Fantasy Books and Games. Now a comic book store has even more unwritten rules than a normal bookstore. The level of devotion and love that the customers of these stores show to the products being sold borders on obsession most of the time. Comic books are often looked at as nerdy and immature, but they can contain some of the most mature and thought provoking material out there. I could spend hours in this comic bookstore, but I usually get a headache from over stimulation. There is too much going on and too much I want to see.

Random stack

Reading a good book is a full sensory experience. You can feel the book in your hands, see it with your eyes, hear the voices in your mind (okay that is a little bit of a stretch), smell the pages as they get older, and if it is old enough, you can taste the dust as it falls with every turn of the page. With that being said, it is obvious I am old school. I may eventually break down and get a Kindle, but it won’t be because I like the idea. I hate the idea. My book collection is already over flowing into parts of my room not designated for books. A Kindle can collect numerous books in a package smaller than a traditional book. Books just spew out wisdom and knowledge. Having a bookshelf is a sign of intelligence and dedication. You don’t have friends over and have them comment on the full capacity of your Kindle. You cannot decorate your home and coffee table with Kindles. You can’t pull out your Kindle and show your grandchildren the history and the love that your Kindle itself represents.

Books may be dying out. Books may be under utilized and seen as relics of the past, but for me, they represent hard work, dedication, patience, imagination, fantasy, biographies, science, photography, fashion, gardening, cooking, and knowledge. I buy books and read at any chance I get. So my only question left is, “Who wants to join my book club?”

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