Tue, July 23

Letter: I’m ‘Hooked on Books’ and you should be, too


Thank you people of the area for supporting me when I had to move my bookstore to a smaller location.

By the end of May circumstances had amassed which forced me to close the store or relocate to something more economical.

I immediately started a closing sale which became a moving sale 10 days later when the opportunity of moving to my previous location manifest itself.

The task was daunting and could not have been done without the help of libraries, benevolent groups and individuals.

Over the course of the next 50 days as many as 25 people helped me pack, move and set up 45,000 books in my new location at 148 South Main, Cottonwood.

And there were countless people who helped relieve me of another 35,000 books for which there was no room in my new location.

People have asked me why I became a “bookman.”

Why do people choose occupations and vocations?

There are differences between the two. An occupation is usually the work that one is involved with to make a living. An occupation is usually a job where it is merely a means to prosper in this physical world. The making of money and or prestige is the motivating factor.

A vocation can be a divine calling or a skilled profession which one hopes to be able to make a living. Passion for what one is doing is often the motivating factor.

Since we live in this physical plane, the making of money is still a factor that must be addressed. Imagine the fun and blessings when one is able to make a vocation the means of providing the money for living as well as the love and joy of working.

Owning a used bookstore fulfills many of my desires and beliefs in this life. For me books are more than objects to buy and sell and make a money. Books represent the stored thoughts of people. Those stored thoughts are manifested in the books in many ways.

One is able to look at words on a page and travel anywhere, even to places and settings that exist only in the mind of the author until the thoughts are put to paper. Once on paper the thoughts can be embraced by millions of people even to the point where people in conversation will talk about the characters and places mentioned in the book. The characters have now been embued with life by the creator, being the author. That is tremendous power a skilled writer with an imagination has.

Thoughts put on paper can inform; stimulate; enthuse; bring tears of joy and sadness; inspire; educate and other things. Thoughts put to paper can be in the form of pictures of things made or imagined fantasy which may not be made in the physical due to the lack of know how. That world is quickly expanding with holograms and technology.

Books, their preservation and availability is extremely important for mankind. Books are low tech; tangible; easily used and stored; can last for centuries; and have the distinction of being unalterable once in print and distributed.

The words in books have led people to believe falsehoods and have caused the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. Yet, the use of the words has led countless people to the thresholds of freedom, joy, bliss and spiritual growth.

Books are not good or bad. It is how we use and act upon those words that is important.

I have a passion for books. They are made of fibre and ink, but with their common availability the last 500 years even the poorest individual has access to them.

In my store there are books on countless subjects. The practical side of me has to bring balance to my passion in that the dealing in books has to provide a means of providing a living for my family as well as providing salable material at a reasonable price to the people.

Two events have had great influence on me and my beliefs. At about age 10 or 11 I saw the movie Fahrenheit 451. This setting takes place in the future where it is illegal to own a book. When private libraries are discovered the owner is punished and the library is burned.

Ironically firemen in this story do not put out fire, but are the burners of the libraries. In one instance a woman decides to stand amongst the books as they burned. At that tender age I said, “this is horrendous.”

From that point on I preserved books whenever my parents allowed me. The other incident was near the same time when we had a new pastor coming so I rode my bike seven blocks to the parsonage to help clean. Upon arriving I saw a row of boxes of books along the curb.

I was told that they were old and were going in the garbage. I asked if I could have them and one of the adults said yes if it was OK with my mom. Riding back home on my bike and asking my mom, she said to take only two boxes. Two trips later and my library was on its way. Among those “old” books was a set of Bible encyclopedias printed in 1917 which I still use when doing ancient research.

Meeting people and having meaningful conversation is another reward of having a used bookstore. I have some of the kindest most generous patrons who are more than one could ask.

Often books come across my counter that have become treasures to me. I didn’t even know to look for such books.

One time a little boy was at the counter with his aunt purchasing some books. He had been in before with his mom and when he finally looked up at me he said, “I know you. You’re the bookman!”

This is such a rewarding vocation.

Larry Wolfe

Hooked on Books