Mad about books

October 26, 2012

I’m mad about books. In fact, it may be said that I hoard them. Lately, I’ve taken to collecting leather bound ones which I buy from Folio Society, an English company that periodically features one of their half-off sales—or, believe it or not, from Barnes and Noble leather-bound classics (for some reason I’m embarrassed to admit that I collect B&N books. I feel like a charlatan. Or maybe it’s a turn coat.) All of this started years ago when I started buying antique books at second hand shops and flea markets. I collected a ton  (only a slight exaggeration), but I didn’t read any. Most were threatening to disintegrate into leather dust if I dared open them. So I let them rest untouched and inspirational on one of my many shelves. They’re still there. Eventually I graduated to Folio Society and B&N & any other bookseller that offered an affordable treasure. My thinking was that a book lover like myself shouldn’t be reading Brothers Karamazov in paperback; I should own the master in all his leather finery. But alas, I don’t read those either—I’m afraid I’ll crack the spine or get fingerprints or coffee stains on the pages. So instead I return to the trusty paperback versions I’d been keeping in a box to give away, and happily plow through dog-earing pages, underlining favorite passages (which I seldom return to) and taking notes for a poem or a page inspired by the Master.  And leave my leather-bound treasures wrapped in their cellophane casings on shelves across from my bed, so I can fall asleep and wake to the vision of my beloved impeccable never read never even opened leather bound gems.

So maybe its just paper, lovely touchable word-covered paper, the common denominator I can’t live without. Don’t even ask what I think of Kindle.


About Joan Cusack Handler

Joan Cusack Handler is a poet and memoirist, and a psychologist in clinical practice. Her poems have been widely published and have received awards from The Boston Review and five Pushcart nominations. More »

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