you want me to swap what?

I have a confession to make. I'm a hoarder. seriously. Not like the ones you see on TV, with everything they've ever owned piled high to ceiling, but I'm a hoarder nonetheless.

I hoard books. I love books. Mostly fiction, but several works of non-fiction, particularly interesting (or maybe just pretty) textbooks, compilations of poetry, nicely bound classics that I find at the bookstore. Books.

This being earth week, there are loads of activities going on to promote sustainable living lowering our consumption of the earth's precious resources. And book-swapping is one of the ways we're supposed to do it.

But I can't. I just can't get rid of books. I love the smell and feel of a brand-new book that no one has sullied. I hate buying textbooks with someone else's highlighted passages. I can't even bring myself to sully the pages of my own texts. I rarely get rid of books - the only ones that you will ever find in a swap meet from me will be the ones that I truly disliked - random bits of pulpy sci-fi that my Dad left after his last visit, or giant tomes of fiction that I picked up in the discount bin outside the library, then discovered why they were in the discount bin in the first place, or maybe second hand textbooks that I picked up for courses that I didn't really want to take and wasn't interested in in the first place.

I won't give you a good book. Sorry about that. I'll read the good ones over and over, sometimes just turning back to a certain passage to remind myself of a plot twist, or a particularly juicy scene. I keep my books for years and years because eventually, I'll look back at it on my bookshelf and realize that I don't remember what colour hair the main character had, or where the antagonist grew up. I'll sit down and devour the whole thing over again in an afternoon.

Reading books for me is better than watching movies. My brain sees every character in vivid detail, hears the tone of every voice. Reading Bill Gaston's Sointula, I could smell the salty ocean air, feel the water beneath my kayak, taste the buttered clams on the beach. I've crawled through No Man's Land with Xavier in Three Day Road, and ridden on horseback through the prairies in The Englishman's Boy. I've experienced much of the world without leaving my seat.

So, I can't give you my books, not even for earth week. But would you like to have a sort through my closet? My wardrobe probably needs thinning.