While I love me some libraries, I'm also thrilled to finally be in a financial position as an adult and grown ass woman to buy books (almost) whenever I feel like it. For Christmas this past year my husband gave me a year-long membership to one of my favorite local booksellers, and I began working within a block of another. And if I was going to take advantage of the discount at the first, I really ought to grab a coffee and a paperback on my lunch break at the second. Filling the shelves - and the mantle - of my new home with novels that lack the used college bookstore sticker on the spine has been an absolute treat.
It used to be I would only buy books I knew that I loved, and even those, rarely in hardcover. There's a book festival in Cincinnati where I've been caught up in the happy moment of chatting with an author and purchased an unread story, because it makes everybody feel good, and leads sometimes to beloved friendships.
This year I have bought more books than ever, and while I've certainly loved some of my acquisitions less than others, I'm keeping all of them. When my girls are grown I want what I wanted as a child: a room full of books and books in every room. My parents weren't readers, but they went out of their way to be sure that I was. They provided me that early and everlasting love of libraries - I'd be warned when I started reading books in the car on the way home from our local branch that it would be a whole week before I would have new ones - and a handful of yard sale-acquired paperbacks you can still find peeking out from in between weightier tomes on my shelves.
I was a reader well before I was a writer, and when I am a mad, half-blind old woman raving about the way paper books used to smell, I expect I will demand that one of my great-great grandchildren read me the latest Margaret Atwood.
A few years ago I vowed to buy an eBook for every overpriced cup of coffee I bought, but I was pretty broke that year and am also desperately addicted to coffee. I didn't commit. But, I am trying to make up for it. One of my 34 in 34 goals is to read as many books, and ideally, I ought to own them. I suppose I'd like you to think, too, about how you could bring more words into your life. Please read, and please talk to me about what you're reading. Show me what it looks like on your digital and literal shelves. Because you're not just pumping blood into an author's heart and vital air into their lungs, you're bringing friends into your home. Adventure. Whimsy. Gravity.
Clothes and coffee are temporary treasures. Books are forever.