Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Simple Pleasures, Lifetime Treasures

We all have our guilty pleasures. Mine are chocolate in large quantities and the inability to pass up a bargain book sale. In the days BB, (Before Baby) I spent hours trawling the stacks at secondhand bookstores. Certain friends knew me as a treasure hunter and looked forward to birthdays and Christmases when I would gift them with out-of-print titles or books they'd long wanted, all found at unreasonably reasonable prices. My nieces, nephews and godchildren call me the Book Aunt, for I am the one who sweeps up a year's worth of age and gender-appropriate quality children's books at the sales and distributes them evenly, spreading the bounty like a Book Fairy.

Since I gave birth, however, my book-buying has been limited to online purchases, using my discount card at bookstores I frequent, lightning-fast browsing and maybe 2 trips to the used bookstores that used to be my homes-away-from-home.

Recently, thanks to the au pair and a lot of pixie dust sprinkled my way by the Book Fairy, I have been finding bargain books in abundance. Each trip to the mall, and these are not that frequent, has yielded surprise treasures - newly replenished bargain bins at the regular bookstores and undiscovered treasures on the lower shelves of secondhand bookstores. A rummage sale held at our apartment building and the departure of a friend of a friend for foreign shores allowed me to purchase plenty of once-read books at giveaway prices. I also bought some of my wishlist titles online at auction sites and discovered the best thing of all - an international book-swapping website.

My bedside table is now groaning with the weight of books to be read, an amazing thing considering that just two months ago I was rereading old favourites, which is just as satisfying as reading a new book, really.

Naturally, I am still spreading the bounty. My husband and sister have been the lucky recipients of books they didn't know they wanted until they were given to them, and my stockpile of books for presents has grown again. Best of all, the titles I reread and decided could be disposed of to make shelf space for new ones have found new homes all over the world, and I've gotten fabulous books in exchange for them from equally far-flung corners of the globe. It's certainly true that one person's literary trash is another one's treasure. And as Walt Disney once said, "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island."

No comments: