I'm not a collector of many things. My mom is a collector. She has, at different times in her life, decided to collect things. Baskets, pitchers, dolls, dogs, knick-knacks, pocelain bears. You name it, she collects it. As a result, I am not a knick-nack person. You will find almost no knick-knack anywhere in my house. People who buy me cutsey little collectible stuff or little signs with painted quotations and polka-dots... well, they should know that after a perfunctory display period, their gift is relegated to the box-o-guilt in the attic(only for gifts from people I deem most special and therefore cannot seperate from said knickety-knackety thing) or, most likely, on the next truck to St. Paul- St. Vincent de Paul that is.
There are two things I have amassed in my time- books and photos. I have a crapload of photography equipment from when I worked as a photographer full-time but I never *collected* stuff- as in, I do not have 4 Rolleis that don't actually work. Every piece of equipment serves an individual and necessary purpose in the photographic process. So, having clarified that I am not a collector, I have to say, if you are going to collect something- maybe baskets are a good idea since they are a hell of a lot lighter than books.
The other day I looked at Dean and said, "I am going to get rid of all my books and buy a Kindle". Dean looked at me, alarmed. "What are you going to do with all these books?" I can see him visibly calculating the tens of thousands of dollars of hardcover books in our house(I only buy hardbacks and I have *thousands*). I then see him consider the additional expense of the Kindle and loading it up with enough material to keep me happy forever.
Of course, it will never happen. If I got rid of my books, I'd just buy new ones I suppose. When I was a kid, my parents wholeheartedly supported my reading addiction but my habit was enormous so they couldn't even keep up. One Christmas they bought me a hundred dollars worth of books and I read through those like they were magazines. At one point I was raiding my mom's coat pockets and searching the couch cushions, hoarding lunch money and bumming food off friends so I could go to the bookstore across the street from my bus stop and buy a book after school every day. That's right, I was stealing from my mom's coat pockets to buy books. *gasp* I even spent my bus money sometimes- then I would cut out pieces of yellow paper and try to make like it was a bus ticket. One time the bus driver yelled at me and told me I was "going to have to pay the piper" if I was going to ride te bus. I had to get sneakier after that and I started paying in small coins so e couldn't tell how much I put it. That was after spending my weekly allowance and any birthday or holiday money, babysitting money (when I was a bit older) or extra chore money on books. It was never enough. I could not read enough books to escape my life. When I was 6, 7, 8 and 9 I was having nightmares every night and reading myself to sleep on my closet floor(I had a walk-in closet with a light) because I was scared to fall asleep and have the nightmares... books were always my escape. Books were a good and comforting thing. Some people had parents that loved them and kept them safe, I had books.
Anyhow, when I got out of college and finally had the space to hoard books and the money to buy 'real' books, oh, it felt so luxurious and decadent. If I wanted a book, I could have it. In some part of my mind, that is when I became adequately successful. Because really, no matter how rough life gets, as long as I have books, I can get through it. Or, uh, at least escape from it.
There is just something about a book, though- holding in your hands, the font on the pages. I love old books and have dozens of beautiful cloth-bound editions of classics. I about died with happiness when I found a set of Thomas Hardy books in the most beautiful binding at Mel's in Berkeley. Ahhhh. Nothing like a beautiful, purple cloth bound copy of Jude the Obscure printed on thick, creamy white paper. Yum.
Oh, I guess I do collect one other thing... lingerie. Heh. But, that is a whole other post.