If you’ve ever been to my Shelfari profile, you’ll know I love books. There’s just something comforting about their presence. I think books are a better connection to the world and the past then say, buildings. There’s only one Eiffel Tower and unless you live in Paris it can be a pain to visit. But as I type this up at home (I wrote this in a bookstore) I’m less then twenty feet from the Pyramids, Imperialist Russia, and Tranquility Base.
Fifteen or twenty years ago, my parents went to a property auction of a neighbor who had died. Among all the stuff this man had accumulated over his life, was about 40 large boxes of books. I think my mom bought half of them at a ridiculous price of, I think, $5 a box. For weeks my family dug through the boxes looking for anything good. Among all the biographies, histories, and manuals of machines built in the 50’s were a few dozen books on mathematics. I grabbed these, put them on the bottom shelf, and haven’t really thought of – let alone opened – them since. When I was home this past Christmas, I was digging through all my stuff that doesn’t fit in my apartment (It’s a good thing my parents don’t charge for storage) and came across some of these books. Some of them are textbooks from the 30’s, and I wondered how much I could get for them on eBay. But the idea of selling such an old book almost sickens me. I admit that I will almost certainly never read any of these books or even put them on my bookshelf for others to see them, but I can’t imagine ever needing money so badly to give up such a connection to the past.