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The Mulberry St. Blog is a review and writing blog. I review mostly fiction/science fiction/fantasy sorts of books, with the exception of the occasional YA or nonfiction book. The blog is updated daily, excluding Mondays.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Confessions: "New" Books

I have decided to make "Confessions" a weekly post where I just rant or rave or discuss or something my thoughts about the literary world. Comments are encouraged. 

Yesterday, I mentioned that there is a difference between getting a "new" book from the library and getting a new book from the bookstore. There is a very real difference between these two for me, and I'd like to discuss it with you today.

Most of the books I read come from the library. I just don't have the money to spend on books like I wish I did, and the local library has a very large amount of the books I would like to read. Natural solution, get books from the library. As I continue to check books out of the library, I find that there is a very distinct feel that I get from a library book that I don't get from a store-bought book. Library books are old and worn, and they are certainly well-loved. I often find the cheetoh-print pages in my books, although I don't know what that says about the books I like to read. They're usually donated, which means you get a wide variety of books from "donated by Barnes & Noble Booksellers" to "property of the U.S. Air Force" to "to my darling antoinette...". With a library book, you never know what you're going to get.

Occasionally, I splurge and buy a few books from the bookstore (see: yesterday's post). This books are new and fresh. The pages are crisp, they've never been read. This book belongs to me. I made the very calculated decision to purchase it and I don't in the slightest regret my decision at this point. The covers are beautifully new and not covered by the annoying plastic that keeps me from using the book flaps on a hardcover as bookmarks. Chances are high that no one has ever read - or loved - this particular copy of this particular book, and I'm very ok with that.

There are great things about both options. Somehow, though, I find myself having a hard time reading the books I've checked out of the library. The only thing I've given up for those books is a bit of gas and some free time. I get them for three weeks; I read books in three hours on a good day. They're not mine, and I can just check them out again. I don't need to read them and they didn't cost me anything. I don't want to read them any less, I just don't have the motivation to read them. With a book I purchased, I feel like its a waste if I don't read it. I'd spend hours with them and then read them again just because I can.

This is where I wonder: What is wrong with me? Even if I bought a used book - and I have done it before, though there aren't many used bookstores where I live - the case would be different. I'd still see it as I see a new book. At this point in time I have a stack of about 8 books in my living room that I checked out from the library two and a half weeks ago. One of them was read and finished, a second one was left unfinished, a third has been set aside just for a little break, and a fourth was just begun. This doesn't happen with books I buy. Maybe it's just because I never really have stacks of books just laying around waiting for me to read them. Still, I find myself with this dilemma: I am exactly a week away from their due date and I have lost interest in them. Not in the books as theory and plot and characters, but in the physical books themselves. My only logical conclusion? I'm a book snob.

Tell me, does anybody else struggle with this? Or is it just me?


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