I’m a new school kind of gal. My job is almost entirely online. My ginormous computer is probably the second most valuable thing I own (after my car). I text, blog, and tweet and yes, all those verbs didn’t even exist ten years ago. I’m so new and shiny.
I’m also a little old school though. Eighty percent of my blog posts are written on scrap paper before getting typed(this one included). When I send cards, they are real life cards. And I spend time reading loads of books I’ve either bought from garage sales and used book stores, or borrowed from friends.
We could argue this last fact makes me a cheap, cheap person but there is, as usual, a little method behind my madness.
Reason One: I will eventually get to read the bestsellers, it’ll just be after everyone else.
I just finished ‘Water For Elephants’ a couple weeks ago, borrowed after my friend Susan read it with her book club. No doubt everyone else has already read it but I still enjoyed it, a year or so after the craze. And since bestsellers are, well, bestsellers there are a lot of copies kicking around, prime for the borrowing or purchasing for 50 cents at a used book store.
Sort of like scoring a piece of clothing one season late, I really feel like I’ve delayed gratification rather than missed out when I wait an extra year to read a bestseller.
Reason Two: Old books end up being oddly relevant.
My friend Tom found a book while yard saling called “Internet Business Plan: Create A Compelling Plan for your .com Business that Will Get it Financed, and Lead To Success”. He saw it for 25 cents and thought of me. It was written ten years ago.
I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical about this one; the subtitle alone is kind of ridiculous. A book about the internet written a decade ago? How relevant could it be?
It turns out, quite. Information about writing a good business plan for a website does not go out of style as the internet grows. If anything, having just the basics (versus the basics plus ten years of additional stuff) made learning about it a lot easier.
Bonus is that there are some cute references to how people will use the internet in the future (ie now). A lot of them are eerily true…
Reason Three: Old books are interesting.
I got my grandmother’s copy of ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran (a great book in itself) and inside was one of the most touching inscriptions I’ve ever seen (the book was given to my grandmother by her neighbor):
the friend who knows a good deal more than she thinks
an affectionate Buddha who cares more than she tells
Yeah, try getting that at Borders.
Plus who doesn’t love finding old notes, recipes, or photographs left in a book by a previous owner. It feels almost like spying to see them.
Reason Four: Old books are cheaper.
Yes, the whole bottom line thing. Old books are cheaper (even free if you swap them on a website like PaperbackSwap or SwapTree). I can always supplement my reading of older, cheaper books with some new shiny ones.
In short, just because a book is old, doesn’t mean we should toss it aside. And along those lines..
What’s your favorite old, somewhat obscure book, and where did you get it?