By in Personal

Do you Collect Books?

The library is the place for me. They have real books that don't cost a dime to check out and read at my leisure. What could be better than that? Owning my own library.

I once collected all my books in paperback form. I once had over a hundred paperback books and I was just a high school student at the time. Over the years, the pages became yellow and brittle. I hated that fact. It is a good thing not all paper back books or hard backs for that matter, turn color over time.

Do you have your own book collection?

I am trying to save my books, not donate them, but I know some people actually keep rare collections in vaults. How can that be a good thing? Nobody will get to read them.

The same holds true for rare works of art, paintings, sculpture and other hand crafted art forms, all on the walls or vaults of the very rich, out of sight and never available for the rest of us to appreciate.

I once remarked to my college architecture instructor, Mr. Gerwertz, that I thought our class would be better off on a field trip to Europe, so us students could get a look at the massive and profoundly breathtaking art and architecture that we were so limited to view from the basic images in text books and magazines, like Architectural Digest, which, I once had a one year subscription to.

I never got the chance to go to Europe. But I imagine people there take it all for granted, in the same way that America tends to overlook the fantastic art and architecture right in our own nation.

It seems we all need a way to see things to actual scale. There are many things that books do offer, and once you have seen exotic places in a book, you will likely want to go there and look at things up close, for real. It's unfortunate we do not have a way to just take off and see the world without having to pay air fare, passports, hotel and restaurant and travel guide costs. I once mowed a lawn for a couple who were retired from their jobs and they enjoyed telling me about their once a year vacations to far off lands. The man showed me several things he had collected over the years. It was his way of keeping something from every trip they made together, to remember it by.

For me, books are like that. Saving them, even after having read them, is like keeping a bit of memory of a moment I enjoyed, seeing things through another person's eyes and to an extent, walking in the author's shoes for a brief moment in time.

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VinceSummers wrote on June 1, 2018, 10:25 PM

I have a small collection of books by a child author of the early 20th century. They're cute, intelligent, written in polite language... I could go on and on. I once paid, oh, $10 or so apiece. Then along comes "the collector". You know the kind. The ones who don't give a hoot, but see dollar signs. Losers. I despise them. These books should be in the hands of appreciative readers, not hung-up investors.

lookatdesktop wrote on June 1, 2018, 11:43 PM

Yes, the books should be shared. Part of the problem is almost everything we see has a market value, not an actual intrinsic one. The reason I keep certain books is simply because I might want to read them again, to refresh my memory of them. And I do give books back that I find that I will probably never read again. When a writer gets published, the only sad thing I can see is that many books don't even sell and end up on discount store shelves, and if anybody bothers to buy one, maybe then, the voice of the author will be heard. The thing I really hate is a good book that never gets read. One such book that is often overlooked is the one never written.

Last Edited: June 1, 2018, 11:50 PM

MegL wrote on June 2, 2018, 2:24 AM

I love books. It used to be only fiction but in the last few years I have turned more to non fiction, factual material.

VinceSummers wrote on June 2, 2018, 7:16 AM

Have you tried Thomas B. Costain, Meg? A historic fiction author, I enjoyed one turned into the Tyrone Power movie, "The Black Rose". That man could write! Another (except he ruins it with needless bad language) is Ernest K. Gann. Perhaps you've heard of some of the movies made from his books? One starred Clark Gable and Susan Hayward, named "Soldier of Fortune". Another was "Fate is the Hunter", which starred Glenn Ford and a host of others. Yet another was "The High and the Mighty", which movie starred John Wayne, Robert Stack, and others.

MegL wrote on June 2, 2018, 7:36 AM

No, I haven't read any of those and haven't watched many films. I used to like watching cowboy movies with John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, etc. Much of my reading went through Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, Jane Austen and many others whose books were produced in collections. The reason for me reading all those was because people bought the collections, then got fed up with them and took them to the second hand bookshop. My husband used to buy the collections. Before we had any children and before we even had TV, he worked shifts and I worked my way through the book collections from one end of the shelf to the other! No internet in those days and reading beat housework hands down!

VinceSummers wrote on June 2, 2018, 7:57 AM

Well, the ones I mentioned are both well-written and thrillers (of sorts). The Black Rose is about resentment between Normans and Saxons leading a couple of young men to travel to Cathay, in the process of which they join up with Bayard of the Thousand Eyes. Some of the names of the actors! Tyrone Power, Jack Hawkins, Findlay Currie, Cecile Aubrey, Orson Welles! But the book was a giant to begin with. Period stuff. And Fate is the Hunter is about a terrible plane wreck in which an incredibly capable pilot dies, along with many others. Effort is made to attribute the wreck to human error, but Glenn Ford knows its can't be that. Or can it? Character development is incredible and an attempt at re-enactment is most absorbing. Other stars are Rod Taylor, Nancy Kwan, Suzanne Pleshette, Nehemiah Persoff, Mark Stevens, and (believe it or not) Wally Cox.

Last Edited: June 2, 2018, 12:30 PM

MegL wrote on June 2, 2018, 11:11 AM

They all sound good. I like thrillers too (though not horror). If I were younger, I would have been getting those from the library but these days, my time is almost completely taken up with things other than reading!

lookatdesktop wrote on June 2, 2018, 7:55 PM

Is there some kind of standard or scale to put all books into? I mean, the average American has the reading comprehension of an 8th grade school student. The thing I remember about reading and comprehension levels is that in early elementary school class, there were reading sessions given to the students of my class that had books color coded, and each color represented an ascending level of reading comprehension. Funny that I remember that. At the time I was slightly amused by it, but then I later considered it to be quite significant. My wife read on a college level when she was still in elementary school. She didn't just read books for children, and she often went over to the adult section of the pubic library for books written for more mature and more educated people to read. I think we all develop more reading and comprehension skills only if we try to read books of a higher level of literary correctness and fundamentally higher standards for keeping up with the facts and so forth.

MegL wrote on June 3, 2018, 3:57 AM

There is a FOG reading scale ( ) which can classify a passage of writing into levels of comprehension. It takes into account such things as the length of the sentences, punctuation and the words used, etc. They still use color coding for children's books over here. I often look at the teenage section in my local library if I want a novel. I quite like that style of writing. My father used to say I was reading "rubbish" if I read comics but I reckoned that any kind of reading was helpful. I used to read the backs of cereal packets and sauce bottles because we were not allowed to read (books or comics) at the table. I think it was because we were reading comics that he bought a shelf full of books, like H Ryder Haggard, Jules Verne, etc and I just went through the books from one end of the shelf to the other. I still would encourage children to read anything they can lay their hands on and are interested in because I have seen so many adults who find reading painful and are very slow at it.

Last Edited: June 3, 2018, 3:58 AM

Kasman wrote on June 3, 2018, 4:14 PM

I don't actually collect books but I used to have an avid interest in reading many different genres of books. Sci-Fi was my favourite (still is) but fantasy, adventure, history and factual documentary-style books were up there too. Nowadays I tend to watch TV documentaries on those very subjects or browse the internet.

lookatdesktop wrote on June 3, 2018, 8:05 PM

I do this more than read, but I have checked out a few books at the library that I am going over and am trying my best to finish reading all of them. This takes time. The many daily distractions of television, the internet and daily goings on do sometimes make reading harder to focus on than had been in earlier days. A good read does help lower my stress. But watching local news reports or YouTube videos, lectures mainly, I can get so caught up in them I don't even realize how much time passes and realize that I spend more time doing anything but read.

lookatdesktop wrote on June 3, 2018, 11:21 PM

This is best. People have to be open minded. Limiting yourself to a specific genre, author, or from any given time period in which the book was written and published certainly is to be going to put limits on your own level of awareness of things by looking at the world from diverse points of view. I have not read as much since I was treated for bipolar disorder. Because of a certain anti-anxiety medication my attention span is so impaired that I find it takes a lot longer to complete any book even if it is one I really like and find written in a way that is not too complicated. Have you ever read anything by Issac Asimov?

Last Edited: June 3, 2018, 11:22 PM

frankie2015 wrote on June 5, 2018, 5:13 PM

I used to have a fairly big collection of books. But now I am down to about 20 or 30 because I lent some of my books to others which they never returned. There is also the fact that I moved around a fair amount of time so I lost a couple of boxes or two. But as you mention, there is always the library. In my instance, though, the library carries mostly French books. I can read French well, but for a reason or another I much rather read in English. But what the heck, now I am basically reading books for free as I translated two so far from English to French. I do not receive any pay for this but I will eventually make some with royalties.

lookatdesktop wrote on June 5, 2018, 6:01 PM

That is some work you have done. I am stuck with reading English written books. The only French I know is when I mistakenly say a curse word and have to say, "Pardon my French!"

BarbRad wrote on June 8, 2018, 1:47 AM

I have collected books all my life, but I'm now realizing I can't take them with me and I'd rather have my house back and give away those books I'm sure I'll never read again, refer to while writing, or read at all. My books, which include unsold inventory from my business, are keeping me from being able to enjoy much of a life away from them, and I don't have time to read as much as I thought I would during these last years.

lookatdesktop wrote on June 9, 2018, 10:22 PM

I fully understand and appreciate your feelings about your book collection. When my mother passed she left a complete set of Time Life encyclopedias of science to me, but my father gave them away to my sister in spite of it. I never saw a single one and figured, Oh well, she had good intentions towards me. She was one who really enjoyed reading all of her life.