Mmm, Smells Like… Literature

Tonight I took my first trip to Half Price Books in far too long. Immediately upon walking through the doors, I was reminded how much I enjoy being there, and in bookstores in general. Beyond that unmistakable scent of weathered book pages, there is just a certain feeling to a good bookstore. The good ones also seem to attract a certain type of person as well. I mean, there’s no concrete rule as to who you’re going to run into inside, but they seem to be magnets for fascinating people. I especially have an affinity for used and independent bookstores. They tend to have significantly more personality than the by-the-numbers massive chain locations.

Tonight’s trip was initiated by the fact that I had two big boxes of books to get rid of. They’re titles I no longer read and don’t necessarily want to keep in my collection just for the sake of holding on to them. They were simply taking up space, which has become a commodity that is second only to time in value. So no matter how much I was offered for them, I knew I’d be happy to accept it. It would mean me putting more books back into circulation, and the potential of me taking home some titles I had never read before.

The kid in the hoodie (complete with hood pulled way down over his head indoors) with the Deicide t-shirt underneath couldn’t have been any less interested in helping me check in my books to be sold. Not to worry, however. What lacked in customer service was made up in entertainment value. As he mumbled various things about their policy to me (with as little enthusiasm as a human being can possibly muster), my internal dialog kicked in and started replacing his slurred, indifferent words with phrases like, “Everything SUCKS! My heart is dark like a crow drowning in a pool of oil.” Etc. It’s often loud inside my head, but it is rarely boring.

Fast forward to about 20 minutes later. My name was called over the in-store P.A. The offer for my two boxes was $15. I took it. It was easily enough to cover the two well-worn paperbacks in my hand, leaving me with change left over. For my time (and batch of sold books), I left the store with Jack Kerouac‘s “On The Road” and Daniel Keyes“Flowers For Algernon.” I know, it’s surprising that I haven’t read either one of them, especially the Kerouac book. The “Beats” seem so up my alley and I have actually read only a small amount of their material. I am long overdue for reading “On The Road.” “Flowers For Algernon,” on the other hand, is a bit of an anomaly. I don’t read much in the way of fiction. However, I’ve been told I’d appreciate this book, and the premise interests me.

I can’t wait to get started on them. This will put me at three books going at the moment. The other title (which I started right around the new year) is “I Was There When It Happened: My Life with Johnny Cash” by Cash’s long time bass player, Marshall Grant. My dad loaned it to me. The copy I’m reading is actually a discarded library copy.

Getting back into reading a few books at a time is a big part of my return to having balance in my life. I used to be a voracious reader. From childhood it was a trait of mine. Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, reading has somewhat fallen by the wayside, replaced by more trivial things. However, I’ve recently managed to start righting the proverbial ship. Reading is a major component of that, along with fitness, eating cleanly, digging deeper in my faith, pushing myself to create, expanding my horizons, etc.

So it was certainly a good night, even if it wasn’t as interesting as the first time I mentioned Half Price Books in a blog. 😉




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