Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New and Used Books

Catholic Bibliophagist quotes Virginia Woolf on used books, who said:
"Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack."
Our Bibliophagist friend is not sure she agrees with what Woolf has to say.

I suppose I can sort of see it, but I might say, "I feel sorry for my new books when I release a batch of used ones upon them. They slouch in, dogeared explorers and veterans of many campaigns. Scruffy, down at the heals, but experienced, world-traveled and sage. The new books eye them uneasily, young creatures -- new novels and academics still wet behind the ears, full of ideals and pretense, yet untested by the ages. I think perhaps they resent my introducing in these aged rivals, already victorious over dozens of readers -- their ideas tested and found worthy of retention. The used books sit down, confident of their places, having sat on countless shelves before. And the new books shuffle closer together and look around, wondering if they will be displaced and sent to the discard pile."

3 comments:

Love2Learn Mom said...

We have so many used books that the new ones probably feel like the outsiders.

Darwin said...

I'd guess around 80% of our books were bought used -- though of those many are recent and unscathed enough to look new-ish. I guess I was picturing more the 50+ year old type of used book.

Love2Learn Mom said...

In any case I appreciate the imagery. :)