I know, I know, paperbacks are an environmental nightmare. But that’s only if you dispose of them, which I don’t. Some women won’t part with shoes. Others, with what my mother always calls her “Jackie Gleason” wardrobe, a collection of dresses and pantsuits she hasn’t worn since Jackie was on television. For me, my paperbacks are the one collection of which I know I will never rid myself. Lots of people scrapbook, or keep photo albums or videos lying around to remind themselves of times past. I keep my books, from “Winnie the Pooh” to the latest Kinsey Milhone mystery.
My past, present, and future are written in paperback. The books without covers hearken back to the days when my oldest child was a baby and liked nothing more than to pretend he was “reading” as he ripped the covers from their pages. My French dictionaries and grammar books recall my years in France. My shelves bulge with reminders of my dalliances with Irish fiction, confessional poetry, teaching myself to speak Italian. My books, stacked high atop my bedside table, are the first thing I see in the morning and the last vision I have each night. I keep copies of my novel and every anthology my work has appeared in facing outward in my office. They’re my silent cheerleaders, my go-to guys whenever I waver and doubt about where I’m going or where I’ve been.
I know that e-readers are the wave of the future. I’ve even got several books downloaded onto my computer, and my husband owns a Nook. But you can’t look around your office and see the contents of your e-reader. That’s why I’m an old-fashioned girl at heart in the book buying department. Paperbacks – they’re the wallpaper of my life.
What do your books say about you?