There are certain books every literate person needs to read. Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers is one of them. I love Arturo Perez Reverte’s The Club Dumas which was made into The Ninth Gate starring Johnny Depp. The Three Musketeers was a major plot point in Vikas Swarup’s Q and A which was made into Slumdog Millionaire. I have been wanting and feeling the need to read Dumas’ masterpiece but kept putting it off. Mostly out of laziness. Sadly, the size threw me off. Finally, I was prepared. I picked up the book, opened the cover, and felt a chill. Looking at the title page, I thought of all the people who had read this book. All the people who had reread this book. All the copies that existed. And I was at last joining that legion. Reading a classic book is like walking on those worn down stone steps at Westminister Abbey, Notre Dame Cathedral, or the Louvre. As you turn the pages, you feel that weighty history, of hundreds of thousands of other readers turning the same pages, in different editions, different languages, different translations.
One of my favorite things to do is look for books at thrift stores. It’s a bit compulsive; I start to wonder if I’m missing out on great finds if I miss a week. The majority of books I buy are used. It’s comforting to take home a used book. Perhaps it was misunderstood by the previous owner who didn’t recognize its beauty. Or perhaps the previous owner did love it but had to donate it because of a move. Either way, there is solace in giving a new home to an old book. That is the point of books, they are whole worlds that live on despite the author, publisher, owner, and reader.
This year I started thrifting before Thanksgiving. I scored some great finds for my friends’ gifts. The holidays are about spending time with people you love and respect. Giving gifts is super fun but sometimes unintentionally induces stress over what to buy and how much to spend. Giving a clean, used book is a great present that costs less than a well drink.
I just wanted to share some great reads with the people who make my life better.