I have a new library card, my first in about 25 years.
Three weeks ago, I went to the library on 25th Avenue in downtown Gulfport to get the card because I plan to read library books for at least a year.
This might help me save money and stop my 50-year addiction to buying books, which began in the summer of ’69 with Kroch’s & Brentano’s Bookstore on Wabash Avenue in Chicago.
I was 17 years old, a month or two from my senior year at Notre Dame High School in Biloxi, and I’ve been on a print-spending spree ever since then.
At our home in Gulfport, my books are everywhere. The bookcase just inside the front door. The bookcase in the back of the house. Books in crates in the bedroom. Books in crates in the attic. Books in cabinets in the laundry room. Books in crates in the shed. Books on my Kindle app. Books on my Audible app.
Perhaps a year from now, I’ll get a library receipt similar to the one in the picture below.
When it comes to stopping my book-buying addiction, I’ve allowed for some exceptions.
If I receive an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card, I will use it on books because, otherwise, the card might be wasted on other things I don’t really want.
I’m keeping my Audible account and staying with the Book of the Month Club. That’s it. If I see a book for 25 cents in a thrift store, I might get it.
I hope and pray I can resist the urge to use my own cash or credit card to buy a book the next time I go to my B&N in Gulfport or browse for good deals at Amazon, eBay or Dollar Tree.
I borrowed “Every Frenchman Has One” by Olivia de Havilland to kick off my year in reading library books and it was an entertaining choice.
I finished it in 10 days and returned it to the book drop behind the library on Sunday night, 12-1-19.
“Every Frenchman Has One” is a collection of essays and it’s brisk, quirky, witty and classy.
De Havilland, the two-time Oscar-winning actress who played Melanie Hamilton in the 1939 film classic “Gone with the Wind,” moved from California to France after she met French magazine editor Pierre Galante in 1953 and they married in 1955.
The book, originally published in 1961 and reissued in 2016, is de Havilland’s spirited takes on adjusting to the French way of life and I believe she has adjusted quite well.
De Havilland is 103 years old and has lived in Paris for nearly 65 years.
The book is a short hardbound copy, a little more than 140 pages, and it closes with a 2016 interview with de Havilland. The longest essay is about 11 pages and when you’ve finished one of her vignettes, you can’t wait for the next.
She uses French phrases, though I didn’t borrow the book for an education in a new language. I’ll never understand it, just like the wealthy and retired New Orleans Garden District woman who invited friends to her house to learn the language from a teacher.
Five minutes into the first lesson, the rich woman, who is in her early 70s and has a fine Scarlett O’Hara-like accent, told the teacher, “We have no idea what you’re saying, darling.”
Class was dismissed, never to meet again.
One more “Gone with the Wind” reference before I go. Wade, my 8-year-old New Orleans Northshore grandson, got his first library card last month in Madisonville and that spurred me to get a new one.
“Gone with the Wind” is based on the Margaret Mitchell novel, and one of the characters in the book not in the film is Wade Hampton Hamilton, Scarlett’s first child and Melanie’s nephew.
I wonder if my Wade knows about this. I also wonder if my Wade will ever borrow the Olivia de Havilland book from his library. He will probably wait 60 years to borrow it. Right now, he’s a “Wings of Fire” and “Harry Potter” reader.
Maybe next week I’ll go back to the Gulfport library to look at more books worth checking out unless a title in my library at home catches my attention.
Do you buy books? Do you go to the library? Do you do both?
I welcome your answers and would like to publish them later this month or in January.