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Writing About my Love Affair: Looking Back Three Years

By 23/09/2011July 3rd, 2017books, e-book, reading, writing
Used book

E-books and Book Nostalgia

Three years ago, when I first started this blog, the post below was one of the many I wrote about reading. (Here’s the original post and the comments it received.)

Reading is such a big part of any writer’s life…today, from my Kindle-d  and Kindle-published self, I look back on the reader who knew nothing about e-books and wrote poems about the nostalgia of used books and the stories they tell us not just through the printed word.


I’ve been writing about books every now and then, books I am reading, books I wish to read.

Back when I was a student, and sometimes did not know where the next meal would come from, I would still buy books. Used books sold by weight on Indian pavements, because in those days in India they wasted nothing, and I could not afford shiny new books.

But now, when I can afford to buy any book I might possibly want, used books still call to me.

I tried to write about this love affair (in prose, mind you!) but I can’t help it, I think each books speaks to me in verse, in words which are garbled prayer and temptation,  so here goes (sigh, again, “a poem”!!!! Rick, you are laughing, aren’t you?)

Thumbed, dog-eared,
cover torn in places
names written, forgotten
crossed out, passed on.

I come with a tang
of lazy afternoons,
of mildewed bookshelves
falling apart,
of cheap colognes
on a young man
looking for a start,
of pungent desires
shakily denied,
salted airs in a
pickle factory where
I almost died,
of this dusty pavement
where I am to be sold
made into packets, bags,
my story untold.

Come pick me up
take me with you
and you shall know
of whispered confessions,
innuendos, half-written
poems, and shattered
dreams, as I talk
to you and you listen
with your eyes closed and
an open heart.

For my best secrets
were not printed
on my body
but written
into my soul
by all these years
I spent waiting,
waiting for you,
my love.

Have you ever been to used book markets? If not, why not? If yes, what used book treasures have you found there?
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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Gargi Mehra says:

    Great poem, and congratulations on the milestone!

  • Tammy says:

    Three years is quite a milestone. Congratulations and I really enjoyed the poem.

  • K.C. Woolf says:

    There’s something about used books, like there’s something about the crisp, brand new ones. I love second-hand bookshops as well, and shops that sell new books. And I love my Kindle, and ebooks. I think I see a pattern here. 🙂

    Lovely poem! 🙂

  • nutschell says:

    I can so totally relate. I fall in love with book so easily. I love the poem–especially the 3rd verse.

  • Very nice! (I am so not a poet.) And glad you didn’t starve in college.

  • I totally understand what you meant about buying books even when you didn’t know when your next meal would come from because I have been through the very same phase. I really appreciate your honesty and that really touched me. It only emphasised your passion for words.

    And your poem was so nicely worded and I perfectly perceived its intent.

    Thank you 🙂

  • Oh yes, only a booklover could write a poem that makes a book sound like a cherished lover.

  • Peet says:

    All the big words I know escape me except one,beautiful,I’m sure the rest will come back as soon as I leave.

  • Lovely! Poetry is something I can’t do (at least not well) and so it’s something I hold up, revere, and a little bit envy. 🙂 Funny how our outlook can change with time, no? But it’s a wonderful thing, I think.

    • Damyanti says:

      Susan, I used to dabble in poetry, but sadly, no more. Outlooks changing with time may be good or bad, depending on a lot of things, but it sure is natural.

  • Maureen says:

    Oh, nicely done! ‘of pungent desires shakily denied’ Thanks for the tweet that led me here. Great poem.

  • J.C. Martin says:

    What a beautiful poem! Especially seeing as I don’t normally appreciate poetry, I’m surprised I like it as much as I do!

    Congratulations on your 3-year blogiversary!

    • Damyanti says:

      JC, my blogiversary was in January…this was just a random post that caught my attention. The contrasts are strong: I read e books now…I hated them earlier with a passion, I wrote poetry then and struggled to write fiction and now I write fiction, and no poetry.

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