You can forget it in some bookshelf or other for many years, so that one day your children or grandchildren can pick it up by chance and remind you of it.
You can pretend to read from it in the bus, when in fact you spy the hips of the pretty girl standing by the door, or the handsome man in front of you.
You can lay it flatly on your head and walk with it about your room, trying not to let it fall, practicing equilibrium and grace.
You can flip through its pages, smelling the cozy ink and paper, wondering whether there’s a more comforting smell in the world.
You can put a leaf, a flower, or a butterfly between its pages and dry it in a most romantic way.
You can leave it on your desk or nightstand for weeks or months on end, so you can enjoy its cover in passing, or purely for decoration.
You can lend it to friends to help them pass the time, and who knows, they may even like it.
You can hold it in your hand and with a sigh remind yourself that it had once been a tree sometime somewhere, whose leafy breath filled someone’s lungs with life.
You can drop it by mistake on the floor and then pick it up, without fear that it has been broken.
You can mention it on a first date when you seem to be running out of things to say, just before an awkward silence threatens to swoop down on you, and you can talk about it. (If he or she hasn’t read it, you can of course pretend you did.)
You can, if it’s not a particularly heavy book, fan yourself with it, cooling your face on a hot day.
You can make with it and other books a stack, at which you can look with satisfaction and, whenever someone comes to your room, you can point your finger at it and say, “Look what I’ve been doing lately. There are worse ways to pass the time, don’t you think?”
You can even throw it at someone in self-defense if you have to — better not — but if you do, most of the time it will still be readable after.
You can pick it up and hold gently, like a lover’s hand, and you can peep at any page, murmur any paragraph, caress any words, and you can do it without a serious commitment; the book won’t mind.
You can write all manner of notes, declarations, and phone numbers in the margins and pass them on to unsuspecting persons, with good or bad results, you never know.
You can write on the first page a dedication and give it to someone, and even if they won’t care enough about you to read the book, it would still remind them of you.
You can bring it close to your ear and thumb it like a harp, while the cool breath of its pages whispers in your ear the secrets of the tree from which it was made.
You can take it as a timeless invitation to that place of dreamless dreams and perfect intimacy of the mind where readers go when they begin to read.
For all these reasons, and for many others left unsaid, buy a book when you have the chance, any book, for there are few better ways to spend your money.
What else can you do with a book?