While I love shiny new books with clean, crisp pages that have never been touched as much as the next book lover, I have to admit I have a big spot in my heart for used/old books. I very briefly mentioned it in this Top Ten Tuesday post but I wanted to elaborate and see what you all think!
I love the character that comes with a used book. Ok, perhaps I don’t that huge chocolate stain or the boogery looking thing isn’t completely charming, but still. I love the knowledge that someone else had an experience with this book: that they may have furiously turned the pages in anticipation until 3am, swooned or perhaps even wept on these pages — feelings just poured out upon these pages which my own tears may one day also fall.
I love old books because I love finding treasures hidden within the pages — notes, scraps of paper, receipts that give a glimpse into a very small window of someone’s life. I remember finding the sweetest paper Valentine (one of those cute ones you gave in 2nd grade) from a husband to his wife. I remember finding a post-it note that contained a do-to list. I’m pretty sure she was planning a wedding. I found a sketch for a dress in a fashion design book. I found a picture of a girl with great style on the beach in a book about Edie Sedgwick I bought circa 2005 and I wanted to be friends based on her style! I once found a boarding pass for an international flight ( I can’t remember where to) and I sat there wondering why they were going there — for vacation? What if for a funeral? Did they live there?
I love finding these little mementos! They leave little clues to the person who read this book before me. I find myself wondering what they are like, if they enjoyed the book, if the book was personal to them, if they threw it across the room. Is that strange?
Sidebar of things I DON’T like finding in books: condom wrappers (good job on the safe sex though!), dirty tissues, pages that you mistook for a tissue, candy wrappers, REALLY gross food stains…I mean like a piece of a noodle really? ALSO. Do not annotate shit. Unless I have found an early manuscript I don’t want to see notes in the margins (of a used book that I am buying…do what you will with books you keep!).
I love old books because of the memories attached. There’s something very sentimental, as I shared in my bookish memories post, about having my mom’s old Nancy Drew books and finding her childhood books and seeing her handwriting as a young person …a time in her life I obviously never got to see. It makes me wonder what she was like as a child and if we were alike. Those books are special to me, because even if she’s not here with me, these books were a part of her.
In all, I just freaking loved used/old books. There’s that history of another reader who, at one time, was experiencing the same words you were. Gripping the pages as you were. Crying all over the same pages you were. Maybe I’m romanticizing it but it gives me the chills thinking about the person, their life, what that book meant to them (maybe it changed their life, maybe it made them laugh on a bad day!) and pretty much what else is on their bookshelf.
Sigh..these are the things I daydream about.
So let’s talk: Do you like used books or do you tend to go towards the new? If you do like used books, do you prefer them over new? Do you ever think about the weirdo things that I think about in relation to used/old books? What’s the coolest/sweetest/grossest/most memorable thing you’ve ever found in a book? Do you have any instances in which you have an older book that was passed down from someone you care about and you found something special in it or just feel such connection to that loved one?