Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Sometimes Think I Need Another Hobby

I have quite a few books. Basically, because I never throw anything away, and to me books are unchangeable history. A later edition may say different things about a given situation than an earlier edition, but nobody can change what the first edition said. That’s why I collect old encyclopedias. They usually have facts that are unfiltered by events between then and now that will change the importance given to them.

Like if you read an item in an encyclopedia from 1940 about Germany and Hitler that is not completely evil. The editors may revise the article later on, but they cannot claim they knew Hitler evil from the beginning; you have it in black and white that they did not. Unlike electronic media that can change as soon as the original becomes a liability.

I also have all of my college textbooks. Don’t ask me why. I didn’t read them back then, and certainly have no intention of reading them now. I guess I keep them because they look impressive on the shelf. Most of them are completely useless, and totally worthless, even on the used book market. But I paid for them, and I am not throwing all that money away.

I also have a collection of old Westerns. Cloth covered pulp editions; the paper backs of the 1940’s & 50’s. They were my Grandmother’s on my Mom’s side and I have read them all at least once. Back in January of 1978, when we were snowed in for a month I basically read one a day. My Dad always said if you read the first page and the last page of a Western, you had the whole story. That’s basically true, but you would miss the poker playin’; hoss thievin’; gun fightin’ and rancher’s daughter kidnappin’ in the middle.

I get my books a lot of places. Garage and yard sales; flea markets, friends of the library sales, and I even buy one or two new every so often. Or I get them as gifts. Some I think were given to me as a joke, but I still kept them. They only eat shelf space, and that’s fairly cheap.

I was going somewhere with this I thought…

Oh yeah. My collecting methods mean I have a rather eclectic collection. I have some 5th grade reading textbooks; biographies, fiction and research texts. I have a whole collection of old paperback almanacs. Why? I don’t know. I just never threw them out I guess. I have books on psychology, architecture and electrical engineering. The history of cars and the history of man. I even have a couple of books I bought in grade school.

And I have read almost all of them. There was one I got in a box of books called Alligator that I never finished; it just got too weird. But other than that I think I’ve finished them all; including the encyclopedias. And the dictionaries.

Well, at least the ones by Jeff Foxworthy.

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