Books are wonderful and marvelous things. Bookstores are exciting lands of promise and opportunity. Used bookstores are the best, for they offer secrets and treasures of times long past and just past, things wonderfully loved by some previous owner or things just a little too off kilter to have made the keep/send-away cut during some house tidying blitz. I love the smell. I love the organized disorganization. I love the old bindings and the gold lettering and the curve of a traditionally bound spine. I love the handwritten names and inscriptions in the covers and the notes in the margins. I love the bargains. I love the moment of the find!
A book by itself is just ink and wood fiber and glue and maybe some thread if well bound. Lying by itself on a shelf, it is nothing but potential. It takes human eyes to read the words and a human mind to make those words into thoughts and ideas. And no two people ever read exactly the same thing even though they may read the same words from the same book. All words read from all previous books influence how the minds understands the words of each new book.
There is never enough time to browse any used bookstore and never enough time to read all that piques my interest there. They gather on my shelves, far too many for me to ever read in my lifetime, but still, the sight of them, their musty odor, they give me joy!