I’m a sucker for the New. Whether it’s browsing the stacks of a bookstore and salivating at the tantalizing jacket copy, or streaming a 90-second clip of new music, the impulse to acquire is often too strong to resist. I cave; I buy; I apologize to my wife; I invest in more shelves; the cycle continues. Much in our culture feeds this hunger for the new, pointing us toward the future at the expense of the present or the past. After all, new is good for business. Mark down the inventory, clear the shelves, start again.
But what happens to the Old in all of this? Take old books, for example. Sure, new volumes with their scent of fresh glue and wood pulp are delicious in their, well, newness. But what about the smell of old books? Or the way they feel against the fingers, rough and buttery at the same time?
And what about the old stories? When visiting a new city on vacation, I love nothing more than wandering through its finest used bookstore, getting lost amidst the stacks, then unexpectedly stumbling upon a copy of Baum, or MacDonald, or the Hardy Boys or Paddington. Opening these books is like revisiting old friends. Far from nostalgia, the stories contained within remain rich and rewarding.