I found my self in a new town, practically alone, trying to “create” home out of nothing while attending college.
As I was sitting in an empty room – that is now my office – I tried to budget my way to some furniture, being a broke student and all.
Sure, I could buy an old desk. And I could perhaps pick up a rusty chair or use a stool…
But what about the library?
See, while I had decided to leave all my old books at home, I had dreams of starting this new, massive collection.
“I’ll need a LOT of shelves, and I prefer dark-wood. Perhaps I should get two!”.
It was time to go shopping… on a budget.
Finding a suitable (cheap) library
First of all, your ideal library actually fits…
Buying these big “things” that cover the whole wall was out of the question.
I needed something tall, with a lot of shelves, and minimalistic design.
My first choice was Amazon; so many options and styles…
“If I want a more retro, urban style, then this one will work the best.
But what If I want a slick, modern look? Then, certainly, this one!”
Fortunately, my new friend and neighbor gave me a left-field solution. He knew a girl that was moving out. He got her to sell me a bunch of furniture, alongside a very lovely wooden library — that barely fit my room.
But I wasn’t complaining. I made a great deal, and I finally had my library…albeit empty.
It was time to hunt for some new books.
Choosing the right one!
Well… it took me about 4 weeks.
I had just started college, and my schedule was hectic. Between new friends and lots of hours in a class, I didn’t have time to read.
I missed it. I missed sitting in a room alone and reading a well-written book.
So, one early afternoon, I went out and started exploring my new town.
I’ll be honest; I enjoy finding bookstores as much as I enjoy reading books.
There’s something magical about these little shops. They’re like a sliver of classic old in a sea of modernity.
But as I was wandering around, I noticed the majority where big chain bookstores (think Barnes an Nobles). Nothing wrong with that, I just felt that my “first” book should be special!
Luckily, I spotted a “hidden” little store that served coffee in the backyard.
(Needless to say, since then I’ve spent countless hours there. They’ve also host poetry and literature nights!)
I was greeted by a lovely, older couple that gave me a brief tour. They seemed excited about their little shop, even though they’ve been in business since 1987.
After looking around for a bit, I found the ONE!
And it was… Game of Thrones.
Ha, I know! Predictable choice. But at that time, it wasn’t on TV yet and I’ve heard a lot of good things about Martin.
As I was leaving the store, the owners stopped me and handed me a tiny booklet.
“It’s our collection of poems. We give one to every new customer, to say thank you and come back.”
I was holding the new beginning of my book collection.
When I arrived home, I proudly placed my newest (and only) additions to the top shelf.
It felt weird looking at all that space. It symbolized the potential, the different paths to the knowledge I was about to explore.
It didn’t take much longer until I filled up every single shelf…
“All the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal… But with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become more and more able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not.” – Nick Hornby
As the years progressed, I grew alongside my book collection.
This time, instead of following recommendations or blindly trusting the reviews, I made sure to curate what I was putting in my library carefully.
Each book represents a different part of me. As a whole, they are, in a sense, a mosaic of my personality and mind.
I believe that’s true for every single one of us. We embark on a new journey each time we open a new book. And by the time we put it down, it has changed us, for better or worse.
Right now, If I turn my head to my right, I can see, right up there in the corner, the very first book(s) of my collection. And I’ll tell you a secret…
I never read the poem booklet. I want it to be a placeholder, reminding that I can always grab it, read it, and gain new insight, a new lesson, a unique experience.
And that’s pretty much what life is about, right?
P.S- Hey, what was your first book that started your collection? Comment below!
About the Author
George Kourakos is an ad-man by day, a writer by night. He is a mathematician with a creative side. Working full time as a copywriter, George wants to explore his creative side by writing about his favorite topics.