What we keep in our homes is a reflection of ourselves. We tend to collect things that matter to us. Even so, sometimes what matters isn’t what first springs to mind. I’m sure everyone is guilty of buying something cheap when they should be investing in something valuable.
It’s part human nature and part super speed society that makes us crave instant satisfaction. It might be a vending machine snack when you know you should wait for dinner or a another nail polish in a colour almost exactly like the one you just bought (although having a bunch of nail polishes isn’t a bad thing).
There are plenty of worthwhile things to invest in, but perhaps the best one is books. Sure,they might not accumulate to millions, but the value they have is far less tangible and more personal.
This is not to say that you should buy a book for the sake of having a well stocked shelf in the living room to make you seem educated for dinner guests. This is collecting books that interest you, or challenge you, or that you just love for no “good” reason. I recommend investing in well bound books, for longevity. My first copy of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” lies in two pieces somewhere in my parents house, but such is the disadvantage of paperback. These are books you’ll want to last a long time. I recommend Penguin Classic’s cloth bound for classic books (namely because these editions are a work of art), and hardcover for newer works. However, paperback copies are great for traveling, for loaning or for folding into your back pocket.Paperback provides a nostalgia that is sometimes missing in hardcovers.
There is something very comforting in returning to a book with a worn spine and curling pages. It can cure loneliness, heartbreak, or boredom. It can make you laugh, or teach you something new, even if you’ve read it a dozen times. As much as there is to be said for local lending libraries, sometimes in the middle of the night you wake up to find you must have “Jane Eyre” or you need that line from “Catcher in the Rye”. Occasionally you find yourself in a situation where a library is out of the question, and you must rely on the reading material in your own home. Or when you’re home, in bed with a nasty cold, or when you finish all your library books and have nothing to read on a Sunday afternoon in January. This might not be the end of the world— sure there is Netflix, but it’s nice to have options.
To people living with anxiety (such as myself), books provide some much needed relief. It’s great to have that escape from the real world into a parallel universe. You also learn to apply coping mechanisms from literature into real life— honestly, how many people haven’t used Oscar Wilde’s “Bunbury” to get out of something? So, again, it’s nice to have those handy little escape hatches readily available at home— perhaps even in bulk.
There is a downside to book ownership— they’re wretched to move. Last year I moved and had to reduce my 400 plus book collection down to half its size. Sadly, those books are mostly packed away waiting for me to settle into a place where I don’t live out of a suitcase.
Still, even with literally a 12X10 space to live in with everything I own, I have a library. Currently, most of it is in storage, but I have a dozen books scattered across different surfaces. The importance of a home library is essentially this: it’s not a home, at least for me, if it doesn’t have a library.