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4

WEDNESDAY

I always buy my favorite things used. I guess I kinda hope they were once someone else’s favorite things, before—by some unfortunate but unavoidable circumstance—they were orphaned. When I was a kid, I thought of it as a kind of rescuing; I couldn’t count on anyone else to save the precious castoffs—the dolls with the bad hair, the stuffed animals with the different-sized ears—so I had to do it myself. I always got the feeling that these things I took home with me were, well, grateful to be with someone who appreciated them. I eventually transferred this logic to the old books I would pick up at flea markets and garage sales; they needed a place to once again be regarded, and my shelves gave them company, security, and the promise of maybe, one day, actually being read again. I just might take the opportunity to learn more about my live-in companions when the Rare Books and Special Collections Division and the Center for the Book sponsor the first Library of Congress Rare Book Forum, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Library of Congress, Madison Building’s Mumford Room, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. For reservations call (202) 707-5221. (Jennifer Agresta)