For the Love of Books

Some people rescue cats and dogs, I rescue books. I’m a book rescuer. I’ve treasure hunted for special finds in Thrift Stores for many years. Over the years, I have observed the mistreatment of books in these establishments. They are tossed in large bins or baskets before being placed on the display shelves. They sit huddled, one atop of another, this way and that, with pages bending and bindings straining. I’ve watched thrift store clerks rearrange the books on a shelf by slamming them into a grocery cart before they reload them on a different shelf. I’ve also seen what happens at the end of the line when the unsold books go to the clearance warehouse and then the trash. Oh the misery of watching books cast away as worthless paper.

booksI have always enjoyed finding books for my own collection at thrift store prices. Some years ago, I began buying books I already own that I deem excellent reads. I rescue these poor books from their thrift store prisons and save them for readers who want them. When I am discussing a particular book or author with a friend and they express interest in the book, I search my give away collection to find the book its new home.

I fulfill several purposes in this arrangement. First, I enjoy the treasure hunt. Second, I enjoy saving readers the retail price by gifting them with a gently used book. And I rescue the book from its impending doom and find it a new home where it is appropriately appreciated.

The difficulty is in finding readers. My rescued books mount as readers are few and far between. Sometimes, finding no acquaintances who wish to own them, I list them for sale to a broader group of possible new homes.

When I find G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, Francine Rivers, Colleen Coble, John Eldridge, Danny Silk, Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson, Joseph Ellis, Os Guinness, Alister McGrath, John Locke, Charles Dickens, Peter Kreeft, or any of the numerous other authors I enjoy reading sitting on a thrift store shelf in good condition they simply must come home with me. It matters naught if I have several copies already, they get rescued.

On occasion, I have saved old books with brittle pages dating back 60 – 100 years. I also find and save Bibles. Bibles costs $30 to $50 dollars retail. I find them for a dollar or two.

Lastly, when I reduce my personal collection to any degree, these books no longer go to a thrift store. These books, if not added to my give away pile, are donated to my local library used book store. There they can be carefully handled and sold with proceeds going to support the library.

So, you see, I am a book rescuer. Being an aficionado of printed books, I delight in protecting them for others who love reading good books.

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” 
― C.S. Lewis

“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” 
― C.S. Lewis

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