By Tom Ehrich

Such an array. All my favorite authors, in hardcover, $2 each – first five books, $10, then five more, another $10.

When it came time for our duty as cleanup helpers, a coordinator said, “Take whatever books you want.” It was a perk of helping at the Stone Ridge (NY) Library Fair.

So I selected another ten books. We will come back on Sunday to help with final cleanup and take home even more. Maybe I will locate that history of Paris in the 19th Century by David McCullough.

The key will be to read the books and then give them back to the library to resell at the next fair. But not to store them, not to create bookshelves to house books already read. Not to add more stuff at a time when my wife and I are trying to shed load.

The point is the reading, not the storing. A book opens the mind, enriches awareness, informs and perhaps even inspires. But it is what comes next that matters. What do I do differently because I read this or that book? How do my beliefs and ideas change?

If nothing changes, then storing a printed volume on a shelf is meaningless. And if action, belief or idea does change, then it’s the next book that I need to find.