In his bestselling book of the same name, Nicholas Basbanes describes the malady as "A Gentle Madness." And I have a bad case of it.
A floor-to-ceiling library, cabinets in the garage stuffed to the gills, numerous bookcases and random stacks in several rooms of our house bear witness to my passion for books. It's an addiction supported by frequent visits to used bookstores, thrift stores and I reluctantly admit the big chain bookstores, which in conjunction with the Kindle, iPad and Nook have set out to destroy one of the joys of my life: used bookstores.
Perhaps it is an overstatement, but to my mind a good used bookstore is a little haven that offers a unique sampling of the knowledge and creativity of the ages. Within its walls are the basic ingredients for a liberal education far superior to what most universities offer. It is also the ultimate "green" activity, recycling a product that can be used again and again, and that, with a little care, will last and never be "used up." A great, old book can provide insight into an age gone by and offers the gift of continuity from one generation to another.