Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What Would You Do

for the love of books?

I've been a member of Salon.com's discussion forum, Table Talk, for over 10 years now. One of my all-time favorite threads was about the lengths we book-lovers go to for books: acquiring them, owning them, shelving them, admiring them, fondling them, and of course, most of all, reading them. The thread is frozen now, a little time capsule of book-love from the end of the last century, but I still go visit every now and then. You can read the thread in its entirety in guest mode here. You can also consider paying a nominal subscription fee and joining up. If you think that conversations in comments around the blogosphere are addictive, you just have no idea what a discussion forum can do to you.

Kat: I read in the bathroom at work.

Rachel: Okay, I'm giving away one of my best secrets here...

During our extremely boring monthly sales meetings, I've passed the time by photocopying twenty pages or so from whatever book I'm reading and adding the photocopies to the stack of papers I normally have to wade through. Thus, I can continue reading my book without holding a book in my hand, and people just think I'm studying up on work.

Kat: In my viciously voracious, no-book-is-spared episodes, I often never really look at the title or the author. Just open the book and start reading. The next day I couldn't tell you who wrote it or what it was called although I usually am able to tell you what it was about. It's the bookish equivalent of a one-night stand in which not only is the stand's name forgotten but even its gender is fuzzy.

Mary: I recently got caught up reading up a book on the subway and wound up in entirely the wrong borough.

Emily: I work one part time job, one full time job, go to school full time, and still read two books per week. I keep my underpaid job at Borders just for the 33% discount.

Stirling: I dated a girl for her access to the Harvard Libraries.

April: I read at stop lights as I drive to work.

Robyn: Before marriage I used to sleep with my books all the time. Now I have brief flings before my hubby gets home from work.

Iain: A guy I was at school with fifteen years ago recognised me on the underground because I had my nose in a book.

Olivia: it has been recently pointed out to me that taking books to the movies (so I can read while I'm waiting for the movie to start) is highly unusual behavior and probably indicative of some sort of neurosis.

Annie: I also have certain criteria when I am purchasing handbags. I can only buy bags which have the capacity to carry big hardback books, (just in case I can't wait for the softback in something and have to buy the hardback. Sometime if I am carrying an especially big book I do a trial run in the store. Friends, shop assistants think I am mad.

Jeff: Does taking the bus or train somewhere, when it is possible to drive, so that you can read in transit count?

Meghan: Or how about taking the local train rather than the express, just to have more reading time. Does that count?

Ted: I sometimes travel with virtually no books. That guarantees that on arrival I head directly for the local bookshops to get my fix. Two years ago, when I was sent to Portland OR., my employer couldn't understand why I insisted on going a day early. He doesn't know about Powell's.

Sky: We wanted to keep our cross-country move as light as possible, so we got rid of our couch, bed, most chairs, tables, etc., and brought only the essentials--close to 80 boxes of books or so, as I remember.

Marya: I only buy books I'm pretty sure I will read again, and I even hesitate to check crap out of the library. But THEN--THEN I have these sordid, stand-up affairs in bookstores and libraries with books I would never, never, introduce to my mother or acknowledge knowing on the street. Sometimes I go as far as lying down on the floor with one, but mostly I just creep into a corner and have my way. Ugh.

Kelly: Strolling through Victoria, BC, my heart missed a beat when I saw a sign that read Book Tours Here. Book Tours? Book Tours?!? Oh, book tours. I don't know what the heck a book tour would be, but it sure sounded terrific.

DG: I once wallpapered a bathroom with the pages from duplicate copies of "Jane Eyre" and "The Picture of Dorian Gray." (Duplicate copies so you get both sides of each page). I did them in neat ascending rows, then varnished the Hell out of them. If you ever got locked in, you could read two complete novels. It was really very very pretty.


These are my people, my kindred spirits. I just love them and I figured you might too. Thus, this post.


Shannon said...

OMG, that wall paper idea is brilliant! Only other book people get it. My other friends tend to think I am a bit crazy. OK, maybe I am, but my mad world is populated by fabulous heros and heroines.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I miss some of those people! Thanks for the flashback. I still think that was the best thread name ever.

Anonymous said...

I read at all the stop lights and now feel normal.... how disturbing is that?

Nicola O. said...

Believe it or not, that thread goes on for thousands of posts. We readers, we are legion.

Jen, I do too. We've seen a lot of changes over there in 10+ years, haven't we?

Kate said...

I had to laugh at the person who dated someone to have access to the Harvard Libraries, but I didn't know it was considered unusual to read a book before the movie starts. What???


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