Our island home of Prince Edward has had an environmentally friendly approach to garbage for over a decade. Living in such a small area, slightly larger than the state of Delaware, you can imagine the amount of garbage its population of 140,000 could generate, covering our pastoral setting.
When the sorting of garbage became the focus, people worked at re-using, giving away or selling items. Some items pass through numerous hands before they are discarded. A recent item on a local Buy and Sell or give-away site read, "I have a lot of magazines to give away. Read only once."
On-line today, there are websites selling books, new and used. Often while reading a book club selection, I read some of the author's other work, or a book mentioned by one of the characters. On-line, it is possible to acquire out-of-print books for a good price. Recently I read Alice Munro's Dear Life in which one of her characters mentioned Wild Geese, written by Martha Ostenso in 1925. I bought Martha's book on-line and thoroughly enjoyed it.
If you buy such used books, there are descriptions of the condition of the books. Some books are available for a penny; delivery costs raise the price but are not prohibitive. I have received books from England, the United States and Canada, within the estimated arrival time and in good condition.
These old books make my mind work overtime. Who was the book's first owner? How many times has it changed hands? Why did the readers decide on this book? Where has it traveled before it arrived at my door? What did the other readers think of the book?
While the magazines may have been read only once, I am more intrigued with books which have a history of ownership and work for the imagination.