Posted on May 12th, 2006

Books - new or used? I vote for used - preferably paperbacks.

I’ve always loved to read and have done a lot of it through the years. I’ve had a library card since I was six-years old. I love going to the library and browsing through the shelves. The problem is, now that I have grand-kids visiting, they want to feel and touch everything. Sticky fingers leave marks on my borrowed books and libraries don’t like that. And forget about wiping their hands first, they’re too fast! Kids can shoot in, fall into my lap (and book) and shoot back out quicker than I can blink now-a-days.

Kids like to write, have you noticed? Give them a fat crayon and a coloring book, and watch them go - straight to the wall or the bookshelf. Quick, bring them back to the coloring book. To show them what to do, you color a bit, (“See? Like this.”) and color a bit more. Did you forget how much fun it was? When you look up, the little angel has your borrowed library book splayed out on the floor with a crayon in her chubby fingers and a big smile on her sweet face.

So, I use a couple of bookshops who specialize in used paperbacks. I can buy them cheap, then trade them back for more - two for one. If a few get torn or drenched in red cool-aid, it’s no problem for anyone. I keep them on a small bookshelf, and if little hands happen to tear a page, I don’t stress over it.

Allowing my kids and grand-kids to handle my books freely has given me some wonderful surprise memories. I was going through a box just the other day and found a torn out single page with my son’s name carefully written in his five-year old hand along the top margin. It’s thirty-five years old, and it was a wonderful gift from the past. Priceless!

I’m a big believer in reducing as much stress in life as possible. Not much can be done about it out in the real world; but home is my territory and I try to keep it stress-free for everyone. We all need a sanctuary - even, or perhaps especially, children. So, I keep used paperbacks around the house and good books up high. Remove the stress and enjoy daily life by being a cheapskate. I do.

Esprit is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Creative Writing.

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