No, this post is not about my non-existent love life 😂This weekend I went to a used bookstore that I frequent on the regular. I haven’t purchased anything in awhile and mostly just go to check out their enormous collection of unusual sci-fi novels with hopes of picking up my very own Fox Mulder 😝 It’s a very cool shop operated by some old hippies and just one of those peculiar places that are disappearing. There are literally thousands of books in this store and this weekend I got to thinking about all the stacks of unwanted books and if books are becoming too much of a good thing.
There used to be a time when printed books were incredibly hard to acquire and treated like precious commodities. In the era of the mass paperback though, every household tends to have a few dozen books laying about. As a former educator, I certainly understand the importance of reading and literature being accessible to everyone. However, clearly there’s a lot of waste when it comes to books. While it’s important to ensure equal access to books, does there really need to be 20 copies of one Danielle Steele novel in existence?! Books can be recycled but it feels a bit wrong to throw a book away no matter how trivial the subject matter might be or how well-worn it is. Unwanted books can be donated which seems like a great way to waste not but are they really being purchased or rather sitting on a shelf in triplicate?
Even if the rest of the world doesn’t recognize what I refer to as book-waste or, seemingly doesn’t since I can’t find a single statistic on it, it’s something I’m trying to be more cognizant of. I rarely purchase physical books but always buy used when I do or simply check the book out from the library. I still absorb a ton of literature though through other mediums as well like audiobooks and yes, even the sacrilegious e-reader 😝 I don’t love the e-reader, I only just recently started using one and it doesn’t feel like a real book to me. That aside, my library offers a service where I can check out most any book digitally and access it on my device. There are also loads of free books available through my Amazon Prime subscription. My favorite zero-waste book though has to be the audiobook which I never would have thought possible since I love reading so much. Listening to a book though somehow makes me feel more immersed in the story. Even though I’m sure it’s more beneficial to my brain to actually be reading I still love a good audiobook. I’m still a total book junkie, whenever I need my book fix, I’ll visit a bookstore, do some browsing and then download the titles I’m interested in. It’s not quite the same but having consumed so many book already in my lifetime, I feel better about not creating more waste.
What are your thoughts on book-waste, is it even a thing to be concerned about? Tell me if you prefer a physical book or are fine with digital media! Does it make you a bit melancholy to see stacks if unwanted books or am I just a bit odd 😉
Jane Harper’s first standalone was an intense slow burn of a thriller set in the striking vastness of the outback. When I found out that this was no an Aaron Falk case, I was a bit disappointed but the characters in this novel were equally as endearing with their character flaws, secrets and histories – none more so than the man found dead of dehydration only feet away from the safety of his vehicle at the very start of the book.
Cameron Bright is a father of two with a beautiful wife, prosperous land and seemingly the best put together of the three Bright brothers. When his older brother Nathan starts to dig deeper into the mysterious death, events from the past and the secret life of Cameron starts to unravel. On the whole, the family is shocked at the unexpected death and can’t fathom what would drive a man to walk out into the desert to his demise. There are members of the household that hint at Cameron’s unstable mental state in the days leading up to his disappearance but there are whispers of something more sinister when a woman who accused Cam of taking advantage of her in their youth makes mysterious phone calls to the house. She wasn’t believed at the time but as the adults who were there start to recount the story, we find out that there are those who did believe her and suspect that Cam’s father drove the girl out of town.
With the police reaching the conclusion that it was a suicide, Nathan, the black sheep of the family who lives in exile starts to dig into who Cam really was as an adult and what secrets his wife and kids might be keeping. It’s pretty clear from the start that he knows that his brother has demons, having been raised in an abusive household and starts to wonder just how stable he really is. What he uncovers is a history of domestic abuse, a wife with an exit plan, adultery and a murder that was committed for love.
What I love about Harper’s books is the atmosphere, being set in an environment as hostile as the outback further augments the intensity and mystery of the story-line as you never know what’s hiding out there. You could fall victim to a killer on the loose or simply getting a flat tire and getting stranded in the elements. The setting creates an urgency that can’t be sated. Her books make me want to immediately experience the vast wilderness of the outback while also never, ever setting foot there at the same time. I could not stop listening to this book, I finished it over the course of two days and was so shocked by the ending that I had to go back and listen to it a second time to see if I missed anything. Even though this is a standalone, there are some references to her debut novel The Dry that I felt were very clever and helped to flesh out some of the character’s stories. It’s a fantastic book, the ending was tragic and unsettling but poetic in its own right. I’m sure that the book is just as good read but if you have a chance to listen to the audio version, Stephen Shanahan is awesome. I loved it, I will listen to it again and again. Have you read any of Harper’s novels? What’s your fave? I think mine is The Dry followed by this one with Force of Nature coming in last but still being very good!