Sunday, April 11, 2010
TSS: What makes a book a keeper?
In those instances, I will make a heroic (truly, it is heroic, even if she doesn't recognize it as such) to get rid of some books. When I do this, it makes me realize that I have many different criteria for what constitutes a "keeper" book.
Georgette Heyer is firmly on my keeper shelf because she is my go-to comfort read. I am comfortable in Heyer's world, I understand her language, I know her stories, and I am perfectly aware of what she will give me. I even have multiple copies of some of her books just because I hate seeing them sad and unloved in a bookstore. And because I like the vintage editions much more than the new ones.
There are other books I keep because they are favorites and I know I'll want to reread them or lend them to friends (only friends who give them back!). In this list are Lindsey Davis' Falco series and almost every fantasy novel I own. Quite a few of the mysteries, too. The Shadow of the Wind. I would say a bulk of my "keepers" are books I think others will enjoy, that I would like to have on hand to lend out (at my discretion!) when I need to do so.
However, there are many books I don't anticipate reading again for years. Possibly for over a decade or more. But somehow, I never hesitate to keep them on my shelves. I just like knowing I have them. Maybe it's just me (though I doubt it), but some books, I form a deep emotional connection to. I feel like they helped define me, or mold me. They made me think or changed my perspective of a situation. They made me fall in love with them. Having them with me, on my shelf and close to me, makes me feel more secure. I feel as though those books have a piece of me in them, and the thought of giving them away makes me sick. Truly, it makes my stomach clench. What if Hilary Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety is picked up by someone who does not properly appreciate it? How could In Other Rooms, Other Wonders just languish on a shelf for years, feeling unloved? What if someone spilled coffee all over my beloved Persuasion? The possibilities are just too terrifying to think about. So these books stay with me, and I know they are safe and loved.
Do you have a strong and deep connection to any books? Which ones? How do you define a keeper?