Does anyone remember these old B&N bags before they decided to shift emphasis to a more â€œletâ€™s endorse our store colorsâ€ look?
My dad use to bribe me with money when I was still into the The Chronicles of Narnia hullabaloo (circa â€˜97). He said that if I read all the books on the front of this bag heâ€™d give me $50 and another $50 if I read all the books on the backside. Now, let me remind you â€”$100 at that age was like winning the lottery so I took this very seriously. I read To Kill a Mockingbird because for something reason or another, I thought that once I read that book, no doubt I wouldâ€™ve won the respect of all my elders and I could just die in peace. I managed (by some miracle) to meander my way through Of Mice and Men and a part of Death of a Salesman (depicted on the other side) by the age of 11. I feel certain that at the time I was hopelessly oblivious to the notion of â€œclassic, canonical literatureâ€; I did, however, know that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was not categorized as such. Ultimately, I never finished all the novels on this Barnes and Noble bag and I never did get that $100. Iâ€™m still short two or three of these books at the age of 19.
But nowadays, I couldnâ€™t be bribed with enough money to not read them all.
What we need are books that hit us like most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like a suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.
— Franz Kafka
Alas, books. Iâ€™ve monopolized the 200 square feet of dorm room space with a series of these fascinating specimens; an alphabetized avalanche leans against one of the walls. Come my fortieth birthday, I will be encased in a house constructed of books and accompanied with a select number of cats, plants, and telescopes. (The likelihood that I will become that proverbial cat lady has soared through the stratosphere. I have embraced my fate long ago.) Most likely, I will stumble upon these memories of my boisterous college years and laugh at how scant a pile of books this was and how meager and few the ideas I owned were and how naÃ¯ve I was when I felt my lifeâ€™s significance diminish under the weight of the unknown Universe and what terrible food I toleratedâ€¦ and this stream of memories would be a nice token of remembrance to have. But these were the kernels of ideas that constitute me and encouraged me to think on my own accord and to try, standing on the shoulders of giants, to bring truths that I have discovered and have yet to discover, to light.
On another note, Iâ€™d love to be introduced to your favorite books. Let me know. Iâ€™d be eternally grateful.
Sue majors in Neuroscience & English and tends to lurk in bookstores.