Sunday, August 5, 2012

Love, Write, Read: The Thin Line between Book Lovin’ And Book Hoarding

* Note: There are no specific news on my book yet as far as dates go. I was excited though to hear from the head cover artist. It’s an incredibly fascinating process from the first line of a story to a real book.

I consider myself to be in the first category, with sometimes (often) temptation to fall into the second. I have yet to meet a book lover, whether they’re writers or not, who doesn’t dream of their own infinite libraries. It’s easy to tell from the pictures shared and posted on Facebook and tumblr. When there’s a link that says “The Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World”, I bet you that they’ll click on it.

 In the every day life, it means that there’s a never done pile of books to be read while there’s probably on open order somewhere. Regardless, when you go into your local book stores, those multiple worlds being crammed so closely together, tease you.

You can easily identify other like-minded individuals. Ask them about the smell of new books (or that of old ones in the antique store) and see their eyes light up. Ask them if they’ve ever experienced deep disappointment when seeing the postman pass by they’re house because he doesn’t have that package yet.

 Now, there’s a new temptation I’ve kept myself blissfully unaware of until recently. I’ve been a bit of a dinosaur about it, but recently, I downloaded my first e-book which was free on that day. I’m one of those people who’d tell you that you just can’t get the same rush by opening a file on a computer, and clicking to ‘turn’ pages instead of touching a real book. Then again, there are so many amazing-sounding stories out there, and sometimes, they come in the Kindle format only. The rush is a different one, but there’s still a rush. So now, in the perfect world, there’s the physical library and the digital one…I’ve discussed this with other like-minded people: it wouldn’t matter how much you have, you’d still want more.

This is the moment where I sometimes have to step back a little and consider what the value of a book is to me. If you can have them all, if it’s more about the having than the enjoying, then it’s time to cut back.

Books need to breathe, whether they are sitting on your shelf or on your hard drive.

 I’ve always needed lots of books in my life, and always will. It took some life experiences to realize that they don’t always have to be the same. I grew up in a family of book lovers, got a library card very early on. Fast forward to the university years, I explored the library far beyond what was my subject of study (I remember that Oscar Wilde phase fondly). I was beyond delighted when I found the Women’s archive, a small independent library with everything from history, politics, art and mysteries. Through the years, I was always writing, and I was always reading. For school, for research, for fun. There are books from series that I pre-order every year. I love to immerse myself into a subject when researching a story. While the internet can tell you almost everything there is to know, the best thing is that it can also point you to books to go to.

 Moving across the Atlantic presented me with the necessity to part with almost half of my collection. This was tough, but also an eye-opener: I gave some to friends, to the Women’s archive and another non-profit organization. There’s something very uplifting in making room for new experiences, new books, and putting a smile on another person’s face at the same time.

I sometimes resent the fact that no lifetime would ever be enough to read all the books I want to read, write all the stories I want to write. The conclusion is to try and use time and space as wisely as possible--remain a lover of books and stories, don’t become a hoarder.

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