Monday, March 20, 2006

Book Lover....

I lost thousands of books.
It seems weird to type that. But I assure you its true. I owned and lost thousands of books.
Almost two hours ago, I got a bee in my bonnet about Colson Whitehead's Apex Hides the Hurt. So I jumped in my car and drove to Borders. They would neither confirm nor deny that it would be released tomorrow and they would not put a hold on a copy for me until it had, in fact, been put on the floor.
I've been to bookstores quite a few times these past six months. But tonight I was actually excited about getting a book. I was thinking I would replace my favorite novel (well, one of them) Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. But I want to buy them together. If you're familiar with Ellison and Whitehead, you'll know why.
So instead, I bought another paperback copy of Sula. I still hold out hope that Toni Morrison will replace my autographed set. I left her a note the last time I drove through Princeton. Perhaps I should follow up with a letter of appeal. But I definitely wanted to have that book back.
I have carted books from New Jersey to Rhode Island to Tennessee to Louisiana. As I child, I always wondered why my grandparents didn't have any books. They had lost them because of Betsy and now I too have lost mine. I also lost my childhood books...from Little Golden Book titles on that were packed in our attic.
Books have always held a special place in my life. Some I read over and over, some I had never read, some were rare, some were trashy...but all of them connected me to a different time or place, a different aspect of myself, a hope, aspiration or realization.
Many of the books I can never replace. I think specifically of my catalog from the Whitney Museum show called Black Male. Even when I got it, they were in short supply. I hardly handled it, not wanting any harm to come to its glossy pages. So too my copy of a book called The Black Book, edited by Toni Morrison when she was an editor at Random House. Others will just be a pain to track down like my collection of 1890s African American literature, my coffee table books of Kara Walker's art...
But now I have Sula back...

1 comment:

AnnaC said...

I think you should make a list of your book wants... and then those of us who love to buy books but are sworn to stop collecting them might be able to troll for your titles at our favorite used book stores... great fun and a permanent wish list... maybe even get a p.o. box so people could send them to you anonymously... it might it its own blog, wow, this just more and more interesting and exciting, at least in my mind!