You know… I’m a old guy, proudly a geezer. Even though there are many who hate the term “geezer,” finding it demeaning or perhaps disquieting, yet that’s who I am, a geezer. After all, my fellow humans won’t forget it or ignore it and quite frankly, who am I to argue with consensus or age? In fact, it’s gotten to the point where much of the advertising aimed at my age group has become downright irritating; these people are too damned young and healthy! I’m even pleased to accept a seat on the train or a discount on a meal of fast “food.”
So… some months ago, I looked around my apartment and what did I see? Stuff. Stuff. And more stuff. A lot of it books, over two dozen shelves worth. And the truth is: A large percentage of those books will never be re-read or be consulted by me even if, as of today, my life is only half over. Why are they here? The space they take is not, perhaps, so valuable, but sooner or later I will move; should I die here, it will be entirely involuntary. But movers charge for moving stuff, regardless of its utility, and given that Social Security only pays the rent, any place I move to is almost guaranteed to be smaller.
Unfortunately, books as an investment mostly depreciate. The Chicago Public Library has given up on charging overdue fees, and quite frankly, it’s not that hard to walk out of the Harold Washington library downtown without having checked out the books you’re leaving with. (I do not steal from libraries. People who do should be executed, cruelly and unusually.) There are warehouses that sell books as interior decorations. There are used book stores that buy and sell books by weight. Rogers Park once had several used book stores. It now has but one, The Armadillo’s Pillow, and they no longer buy books though they will take books in trade or sometimes on consignment.
Trading books turns out to be a perfectly good deal for me: disposing of books I’ll not use again for books I’ve not yet read or want to re-read, and fewer of them. Actually selling used books, apart from select items, is an exercise in time, patience and sub-minimum wage. At this stage of the process, I’m happy to be swapping books.
So let me recommend to you The Armadillo’s Pillow. It’s a snug and friendly establishment, as comfortable as an old slipper, one of those places where you’ll most certainly find what it was you hadn’t been looking for.
Plus they need to sell my books.