It’s all about the books

Thanks to CCM electronic media student Zach Gerberick for his thoughtful interview questions.  (You can see the 5 minute video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyPcUXNcI10&feature=youtu.be.)  The short answer to many questions I get is: it’s all about the books.  What gives a used bookstore its unique ambience?  The astonishing diversity of books that come from many different times and places.  In addition to the variety of bindings and covers, not to mention the textual contents, each book also carries traces of its history with different owners.  Sometimes there are intriguing or touching inscriptions.  Sometimes a photo or ticket left between the pages. There’s always a bit of mystery.  Recently I opened a 1924 calculus book and found a boy’s name and address penciled in the front– and it was the house my grandparents had owned for fifty years, about 1950-2000.  He must have lived there before them.  This week, inside a 1903 book on the art of the Italian Renaissance, a prior owner had written in attractive fountain pen handwriting a quotation I was unfamliar with, but it was so apropos that I looked it up to find out it was by John Ruskin: “No book is worth anything which is not worth much; nor is it serviceable until it has been read and re-read, and loved and loved again.”

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