I Need the Stupid Things

Just read this essay from Luc Sante in The Wall Street Journal about his book collection. If you read my blog, you’ll understand why it resonated with me. Here’s a taste:

Many books are screwy, a great many are dull, some are irredeemable, and there are way too many of them, probably, in the world. I hate all the fetishistic twaddle about books promoted by the chain stores and the book clubs, which make books seem as cozy and unthreatening as teacups, instead of the often disputatious and sometimes frightening things they are. I recognize that we now have many ways to convey, store, and reproduce the sorts of matter that formerly were monopolized by books. I like to think that I’m no bookworm, egghead, four-eyed paleface library rat. I often engage in activities that have no reference to the printed words. I realize that books are not the entire world, even if they sometimes seem to contain it. But I need the stupid things.

I keep telling my husband I’m not buying any more books. Well, except for a few from Island Bookstore, a great independent bookstore at the Outer Banks (it is a moral imperative to support indie booksellers) and then some from the Book Exchange, which I didn’t really buy since I have credit there.

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