Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Books < $$

I love used book-stores. Not only because of my money-neurotic Presbyterian upbringing, or because of the money-nut attitude that says a paperback mass-market is supposed to cost between 0.75 and 1.95 or a trade paperback 3.95-5.95, or because I used to work in bookstores where I got books free or cheap, or because my home town's public library (I realize in hindsight) was the only place I felt safe as a child, or because I love the 0.25-cent book racks that sit outside used book-stores, or because I love to read so much that I could never afford to pay the absurd inflated prices that are charged for new books.


Because I think that books are permanent, and life is temporary. Because I like the idea of writing that lives past when I die. Because I like the idea of owning and loving a book that someone else owned and loved before me.

Because on the Thames embankment in 1974, I bought a small, leather-bound copy of the Three Musketeers, with a bookplate inside the cover that read "St Thomas School", and the typed inscription "To Thomas F----, Sixth Form Latin." And then, in a fountain-penned scrawl, "To Claude, in memory of Thomas, killed over Kiel, 1941."

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