Why do you own books, and how do you decide which books you desire to own? And the ever famous question directed at readers, by non-readers, why don't you just check out books from the library?
Excuse me, what did you just ask me?!
I do frequent my local public library, most times receiving the raised eyebrow by the librarian and the all too often question of "Do you need a bag, or perhaps two bags?", when I happily deposit my towering stack of books upon the counter, and the people behind me sighing and shifting their weight in impatience as they clutch the one, or two, books in their arms. Amateurs. I will often make a once a week visit, not only to replenish my reading material but to also return the books that I read during the week. The library is my first option for reading a book that I have never read before, rather then spending money on a book that I may not desire to own, or ever desire to read again. I call those the one time readers, and the one time readers do not get a place on my bookshelves.
If I really, really enjoy a book that I read, I may desire to own it, at which point I will keep a eye out for it at Half Price Books, or even possibly buy it new, depending on how much I liked it. And what I am about to disclose is why I own books, I re-read my books. Yes, I will go back and re-read my favorites many times over. I know that some people out there will not re-read a book, and yet they own books, sometimes a lot of books ... that, I do not understand. Why own something that you will not be reading again? I understand completely the joy of having books in one's home, the beauty of it, but my books are like old friends, old acquaintances that you may not have seen for a while but in which that friendship is instantly rekindled when you run into them again. Plus they just look good. Now that we went over the why of owning books, I will now go over the which. Now, which books I choose to own is a little more complicated. I am picky when it comes to which titles I put in my personal library. Classics usually earn a instant place in my library, but not always. It has to be well written, have a good plot line, and above all it needs to be a book that I desire to re-read. Rarely will I buy a book that I have not yet read, but I will buy classics. So far the love it factor on unread classics far outweighs the hate it factor, so I feel fairly comfortable making those purchases. I really like having unread books in my library that I can seek out too. I may also make that purchase if I can find it second hand for a very reasonable price, especially if it is a book that I cannot find at my library. You win some, and you lose some when you gamble on books.
My books don't just sit on the shelves looking pretty, they do have a function.
So if a non-reader asks you that question of "Why don't you just go to the library?", ask them "Why don't you go to the library?".