Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Books Glorious Books

Shakespeare & Company, Paris
The consumers and the shoppers are always talking about how something is worth buying or not worth buying . When someone says,  “That’s value for money”, he or she means it is a good buy and if someone comments, “ Oh that’s a steal”, that something must be a real bargain as it is worth more than the money they are  paying out of their own pocket. In these instances, the consumers determine what is a good buy by comparing the prices of various products against the usual market values of such items. But then how does one measure value? In economic terms, if there is a great demand than its supply, the commodity will be valuable. So if it is an object of desire which is after by many, there will be a value. Of course the consumers must also consider the intrinsic value of a product, namely its functionability.

Publicity via the media is responsible for  the hype about some designer pieces and the term “limited editions” seem to be a catch phrase in marketing strategy in that the items are limited in its supply as opposed to seasonal editions. Limited editions  conjure the meaning of rarity and scarcity. Minimal production is a good way to  enhance the value of an object thus give it a snob appeal.

The affluent usually invest in some collectibles or artifacts which they  hope  will increase in their values in the years to come. Whether all these relic will maintain their values depend largely on whether there are people who will continue to vie for them. In the world of commerce, it is essential that  people continue to invest in properties, art pieces, artifacts  and whatever that are tipped to give them good returns in the future. Some  period work of  art and ornaments are priceless and some classic designs in fashion are  timeless. It can be a matter of trend and attributed to branding and largely dependent on the economy. Ultimately most purchases are made because the acquirer loves them for the pleasure he or she can derive from having them in their possession, its aesthetic or intrinsic value would be a matter of personal preference.
I know nothing about investment. There is an old Chinese saying “ A book holds a house of gold” 书中自有黄金屋 and “ A book holds women as beautiful as jade”   书中自有颜如玉. Apparently those words came from Emperor Song Zhao Heng who was trying to inspire reading and education by telling the populace that studying was the gateway to wealth and beautiful women. In school, I  used to have trouble deciphering the meaning of these old Chinese saying and if it were up to me, I would regard those words as a metaphor which should be translated to mean one would find gold  through reading and through reading  one becomes beautiful as a person of substance.  I feel one should be  motivated to read for the sheer pleasure of reading and to learn about human emotions and  gain a better understanding of  humanity as a whole.

I love buying books. Of course books cost  hardly a fraction of what people invest in. When  I am inside  a book store, I feel like I am in front of some sumptuous buffet spread and there are all these books that are just awaiting to be devoured. I need to run a reading marathon so I  carry novels wherever I go and whenever I travel. I have books on top of my bedside drawers; books lying around in my car, on my work desk and around the house. I look forward to weekends and holidays when I get to  read and read . A few weeks ago, I had this notion if anyone would blog about reading a book a day for 365 days like the way  Julie Powell had done  in her quest to venture into the  recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook and blog about her cooking in real time. So I googled . I typed “ Read a book a day for the year” and found the blog by Nina Sankovitch who dealt with her grief about her sister’s death by reading a book every day and post an online review of that book all in real time. Then I found articles about  books by authors who were passionate readers and wrote about books they had read. There are all kinds of writing to suit each and every palate for anyone who likes  to read. For me, it is as if there is some kind of universal force that will draw me to the writings that I can connect with.  Books glorious books.