Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Bookworms

Books, as you've probably figured out, play a large part in our lives here at the Davidson household. It's not atypical for Michelle and I to have two or three books each that we're reading, picking one up when the mood and the opportunity arises. (In this picture, you can see me and our three kids, happily reading books we picked up at a thrift store in Jackson, Wyoming. Reading there is certainly more interesting than the other local sport, Spot the Scabby Tourist.)

We are, however, a bane to the publishing industry. Aside from textbooks, I haven't purchased a new book in who knows how long, and new books are typically a Christmas event in our family, not a regular occurrence. We do buy a lot of used books -- and I mean a lot. Michelle prowls the Internet looking for specific books that interest her; I haunt the thrift stores, picking up whatever catches my eye. (This past weekend, for instance, I picked up two books that look at utopian societies, a copy of "Because of Winn-Dixie," and "The Coming Plague," by Laruie Garrett. I'm not sure where they fit in to the other stuff I enjoy reading, but I'm sure I'll find room somewhere.)

It does seem odd, this disconnect between the industry and my reading pleasure. New books, however, are expensive. Also, concentrating on new books too much eliminates the thrill of the hunt in finding old books to read.

You'll note I say I haunt thrift stores, not used book stores. Used book stores tend to be more expensive than what I'm used too -- years ago, I could go to the local thrift store and, on a lucky day, pick up ten books for a dollar. We went to a used book store about a month ago, and I was a bit disappointed by the prices. I know the owner has to make a living, but let's get real here. They had a copy of "That Day in June," a history of the 1976 Teton Flood disaster, for $35, and were bragging it up as cheap, saying the books sell for as much as $50 on eBay. Irony is I'd just found it -- luckily -- at our local Deseret Industries for $1 the week before. So my faith in the thrift store remains unshaken. I do have to swim through a lot of those cheap romance novels to find what I want, but I find what I want in the end.

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