Saturday, July 26, 2014

Transcendent Life of Second-Hand Books

As a big fan of second-hand books, I occasionally stumble upon gems, and I'm not talking about a book's content-well sort of. Indications of its past owner, used as a bookmark, mostly, but rarely, also more personally-revealing ones, such as notes, and actual names are prizes given by the universe to the present owner as a way of giving gratitude for having saved valuable resource by recycling-what? 

I frequent bookvana, in the form of Booksale. I don't always buy, but my weekly pilgrimage there, feels very much a necessity for someone like me. My love affair with books have been long-running since I can even remember. A book can take you places you've never been. A book can make you realize things you thought you never have to ponder on. A book can turn a depressive into the most opimisitic person in the world. A book can help you escape the travesty of living in a Third World country. A book can help you move out of that Third World country. A book can save a life. A book can help you formulate your dreams. A book can do a lot of things, but on a rare occasion, when you thought its mere existence was enough, it surprises you further.

I have never had problems buying second-hand books, although the typical antique dilemma give you the occasional fright. What if the last person who used this was this or that, what if, basically a long list of what ifs. But I have always had the conviction that money and books were exempted from this spiritual questions, which quite frankly, I never thought was part of my decision making process inside second-hand bookstores. What about old libraries? What about paintings? Objet d'arts? Basically, it's not an issue. The books in themselves are enough to lift my spirits, minus the existential angst of hoping not to commit tsundoku, and to manage the desire of the bibliophile in me, is enough of a piece of heaven. But still it never stops giving gifts. The occasionally hints of its previous owner provide a romantic opportunity to imagine its past.

I don't take for granted the ability of second-hand books in giving a sense of sentimentality because a clue from another person's life is enough to make one wonder how amazing it is that it's in your hands now. Granted, you don't know that previous owner, whether you even like them if you'd known them. But isn't it nice to know that in spite of that, a feeling of gratitude leaves you humbled by the idea that thanks to heir trash, or perhaps intentionally redistributional acts, I posses a book costing only x-amount instead of x-amount at the same time I also inherit a memory, a story, it becomes an antique in itself. A conversation piece. There it is, the power of books to give comfort, a sense of belonging, to an experience commonly shared. Per se, the content is another magnificent matter which calls for a lifetime of tribute. 

My first encounter with book-with-bookmarks, but this one was very revealing, as you'll see in the next picture. I got this book way back, Spring 2012.

Was it purposely put in the book for the future owner to know who owned this book previously?A subconscious-evolutionary-slip? A great idea would be to create an app or site where people can be reunited with books (previous and current owners), as a proof they'd need to provide details and the content/s left inside the book. Quick! I need someone to help me realize this! 

"What a wonderful book, a must-collect type!" 

Taadah! I wonder what he's/she's like?

Nice, modern classics! Little did I know, a pleasant surprise was in-store.

One of my favorite thinkers. "Let me read my favorite paragraph."


I'm guessing she was on a "European-trip" and read this while transiting in stations and airports. I mean the receipt's from Spain. Backpacker? Medical-tourist? Business-y type?

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