The Book is Our Friend

No one is lonely as long as books are around.

We are heading into a conundrum. During our time here, we have amassed a small library, one that I assumed would be absorbed into our hotel’s library upon our departure. I may have been wrong about that.

Dave has declared his intention to lug T.C. Boyle, J.D. Salinger, Jennifer Egan, Alice Munro and the rest of the gang to Canada when our time here is done.

That will be some fun, because our Swiss library is gaining weight at a pace that frightens even me. A forest of book stacks is growing on a corner chair as I write this, and paperbacks are forming a mossy sheath over our desk space. Were we to extend our stay here another year, there is no telling if the hotel cleaning staff would be able to find us amid our fecund library.

And yet, we cannot stop our cheesecake-for-the-brain indulgences.  The Swiss ‘buch haus’ community draws us in with not only their English shelves, but also the German and French.

Through some mystery of distribution rights that elude us, German titles of English books appear to predate releases of those same books in North America. By recent example, consider Steven Job’s death, which sent booksellers sprinting to deliver his biography to store shelves. I can report that the same biography was in our little Swiss town’s bookstores – in German – well before the Canadian and U.S. press issued their reviews of same.

And yet, it takes months for Europe to catch up to North American film releases. I cannot explain it except that it suggests Europeans are still avid readers.

But I drift from my point, which is that books are our friends, and come the end of our term here, we’re going to bring as many of them home as we can. “Leave no bound pages behind” will be our motto. I just hope it doesn’t cost more to ship the books than it would to buy replacements for them once back in Canada.

Where our European-bought books will be if Dave has his way.

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7 thoughts on “The Book is Our Friend

  1. You’re definitely not. You get blubbery, and mark up those books. I feel the same way 🙂 I just wrote a blog about it in fact, a few days ago.

  2. I felt just like this in Australia. I had amassed a great collection of books and then when I went to travel home to the US, one whole suitcase was like a traveling library. My friends in Australia were like…you couldn’t just always use your library card? But there were so many books I wanted to hold and cuddle and mark-up instead of just returning them to the library.

    I do love the picture of your little library – it’s adorable.

    • Thank you. I get why a library card just won’t do. I like the familiarity of a book whose pages I have turned down and whose jacket is ringed with my coffee mug prints. It’s like we’ve been on a road trip together. See, I even apply personal possessive pronouns to books as though they are friends, not things. Am I overly sentimental about books?

  3. Throughout my entire life, the moving and different provinces books were the one constant in my life. Some of my books have more than some people. The hardest part about relocating here was deciding which books to bring with us. It was like choosing which child to bring on our adventure and which had to sit and wait for their turn. The amount of books we’ve already accumulated in our 6 months is staggering…we’re going to be here for 3 years…we’re in trouble. There is nothing more dangerous than my husband and I in a bookstore with a credit card.

    • I can relate. We have lined almost all our cottage walls in bookshelves, having to resort to over-the-window-shelving to accommodate our library. Sometimes we have to elbow some out of the place, but most of the time we just build another bookshelf. I hate to part with a good book – I can get as much out of the 3rd, 4th, 5th readings as the first.

  4. I completely concur: books are our friends. Within the binding of a book, one can find everything from inspiration to advice to information to comfort to adventure. I adore books and can definitely empathise with the seemingly unstoppable growth of your home library…I spend too great a portion of my savings on books when really, I should be collecting my pennies for university! Books are like a drug: completely consuming and addictive but oh, so wonderful.

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