Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Exchange

I have read a lot of books over the past five years or so. Certainly most of them have given me at least some modicum of pleasure in the form of insight gleaned, gained wisdom, a vicarious adventure, or the appreciation of a skilled artist demonstrating their craft. I have taken advantage of my local library, located just a few blocks from my house, and checked out a fair number of tomes. However, I have also purchased a goodly number of books in this same span. I have taken no small measure of pride when incorporating the finished books into my personal library and then, over time, watching the stacks grow and fill the shelves in my bookcases.

But you know what is curious? There are very few books that I own that I have read more than once. I wonder then what the allure is that these bindings hold over me. For it seems that if those spines are not stressed and those leafs aren't rifled through from time to time, I have taken a bit of gold and buried it. Surely those volumes are more than just a decoration in my personal repository.(?)

At work recently, someone had the idea to set up a book exchange. Basically it is a bookcase filled with used books. The supposition is that if you want to take a book, the only price is that you replace it with another book. Thus the collection takes a different shape from week to week. The other afternoon, I passed by the display and paused. I ran my finger along the rows and up and down the jackets. These stories, passed one by one from hand to hand, really can make a wonderful treasure for all who stumble across them. In fact, they gain their greatest worth when they are shared.