Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Books that Travel

I'm always daydreaming about the future. Some of those daydreams are practical, and many are not (like daydreaming about being Supreme Court Justice). I have yet to live in a place which I love so much that I can't imagine living elsewhere. I have yet to have a job that's so fabulous that I can't imagine leaving it. I used to fault the places where I've lived and the jobs that I've had, but now I suspect it's a personality trait (fault?) of mine. Don't get me wrong: I yearn to live in a place that I love deeply where I work at a job I'd never dream of leaving.

Lately, after our glorious experience on my sister's sailboat, my husband and I have been pondering the possibility of living on a sailboat. Not tomorrow, of course. We need more planning time than that. We need to learn to sail. We need to make sure that we really like sailing. We need to wait for the real estate market to recover. We need to see what the health care reforms will really look like.

Eventually, we'd need to get rid of most of our stuff. Many of my friends say, "What about your books?"

Once I would get rid of books because I assumed they'd always be available at the library. No longer can I assume that. I'm tempted to believe they'd be available electronically, but the recent stories about the Kindle make it clear that you might not always have those books. But honestly, if I haven't touched those books in many years, why hang on to them?

When I have this discussion with my book loving friends, they tell me about the books that they read over and over again. I'm not talking about those books. Obviously, those are the ones that have earned a space on the book shelf. But I'm hanging on to many books that I know I'll never read again. I'm hanging on to many books on the off chance I might have to teach them in a class. I'm hanging on to many books who might be enjoyed by some different reader.

In today's The Washington Post, I read a story about people who leave their books in public places and the web site that tracks the travels that a book takes. I love this idea, although I understand it must sound loopy to people. But I'm that weird woman who is enjoying sending out poetry post cards and getting them in return. It would be fascinating to see the travels that my books take, especially in these days when I'm feeling anchored here.

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