One of the first lessons I taught my daughter was that whatever the economic situation, you could always scrounge up enough money to buy books. Maybe not a first edition or a new hardback but something to feed soul and mind on the $1 rack – always.
Food and shelter are true necessities and certainly must be dealt with every single day. Fortunately, we always had enough pennies to cover those two basics. But if we hadn’t I could’ve always stood on the street corner holding a “Will work for food” sign. There are, after all, safety nets in the public and private sector that – though not easy or ideal – accommodate the need for food and shelter. I’m not sure holding a sign that reads “Will work for books” would get me any takers.
At the lowest financial ebb, walking into a bookstore or up to a box of books at a yard sale can give you the strength to carry on. The main thing it does, I think, is infuse you with a feeling of impeding possibility where none might have existed before. Somewhere amidst all that written-down stuff is the very thing you need to move on, move up. A story you’ve never heard before. A fantasy character that shows you a way to soar again. A turn of phrase that changes your defeat into the possibility of success. A description of something you want to attain. Such opportunity and hope in a load of books!
Yes, a library can do the same thing, sort of, but sooner or later – if you’re a good library patron – you have to give the book back. There’s something about owning the book that increases the soul-feeding possibilities, I believe. I don’t want to give the book back. Once I read it, it becomes a part of me – of my options, goals, action-plan, and I need to own it.
Yep, there’s always money for books. There has to be.