Friday Thoughts: Bookish Rituals

It was a big deal, getting my first library card.  I was about seven and could just sign my name, sort of.  My ugly scrawl wasn’t good enough for the library card, and embarrassed, I knew it.  I treasured the card anyway.

Dad took me to the little library every week on Tuesday or Wednesday for many, many years.  I always had a stack of things to pick up.  Some of them were icky, smelly books, but I saw stories inside them.  I had to go the library every week.  And when a closer branch opened up, I said I’d never go to that library because it wasn’t my library…

Fast-forward to the present.  I only go to the library if I absolutely have to (late materials and items to pick up), and I just stop by the closest branch (yeah, that one I said I’d never go to).  One reason is the local libraries are very small, and I read far fewer books per month than I used to.  Also, Overdrive and Project Gutenberg now cover most of the books I read, plus those sites cut down the wait time significantly.   I can also afford to buy new books anytime, too, which up till recent years was hardly possible.  Nevertheless, I sort of miss going to the library every week and probably should get back into it. 

Something I have started in the last couple of years is buying second-hand books… a hybrid of the above options, I guess.  At Value Village (aka Savers), I scour the shelves for gently used, cast-off college assignments.  There’s also a local bookstore, which, in spite of its not-too-subtle political agenda, has a pretty decent selection of used classics.  It’s an exercise in self-control, and fortunately I have limited space at home.  I enjoy just browsing, in any case, because there’s the element of surprise that I might stumble upon a gold mine. 

Do you have any bookish or reading rituals in your life?