Of Hero’s Quests And Yellowed Pages: My Life In Used Bookstores

Even when I was a kid, I loved used bookstores. I loved them in part because I’ve always loved stories, and storytelling. They are integral to the human experience. But I also loved them for the quest.

As we’ve learned from Joseph Campbell by now, so many of the stories we love share the same patterns. We can even pick them out as we read them. Yet they still seem to retain their power. We can all relate to the idea of the quest. I suppose that’s because, in the end, that’s what life actually is.

Buying books and comics is a pretty straightforward exercise these days. But those interested in the quest don’t much care for the straightforward. For me, the quest is where the magic can be found. I want the objects, sure. But as a kid and even now I wanted the adventure of finding them, too. In this way it’s not just about collecting objects. It’s about the idea that there is a hero locked inside everyone and that the purpose of life is to set the hero free somehow.

All of this wasn’t something I could put into those terms when I was in elementary school, learning to ride my bike, and then becoming curious about the world around me. But I understood it, and I aspired to be a questing hero anyway. Continue reading “Of Hero’s Quests And Yellowed Pages: My Life In Used Bookstores”