I’ve just come to the shocking realisation that I’m a book hog. It’s not just that I love to buy books and it’s not just that I love to read. I hoard books.
I was doing my accounts yesterday, always a depressing activity. If you’ve had a good year you feel the hot breath of the Inland Revenue on your neck. If you’ve had a bad year you wonder if you’re in the right business. So I had to go through my book purchases for 2011 and decide which of them could be written off as research expenses. Very few, as it turned out. But I had bought an awful lot of books.
I’ve been a book buyer since I was about nine years old. That was the year I discovered the spending power of my pocket money in a shop called The Midland Educational Company on Market Street in Leicester. I think the first book I bought there was called something like Putting on a Play. It explained things like how to create the sound of heavy rain using dried peas on a wooden tray. I wonder whatever happened to that book?
Anyway, I was reviewing my book purchases for last year and discovered to my shame that there are still quite a lot of them I haven’t read. They’re stacked by my night table. Some of them are nearing the top of the pile. Some, unaccountably, never seem to move up the ladder. Well not so ‘unaccountably’ actually because I know the reason. I’m more tempted by my newest tinselliest purchase than I am by last December’s must-have.
Looking at my To Read pile I estimate I could stop buying for a full year and not run out of new books to crack open. I’m a book hog. I’m like one of those people who keeps going back to the All-You-Can-Eat buffet. Or, trying to look at it in a more positive light, I’m doing my bit for what I recently, hilariously, heard called the Writing Industry. If publishers go out of business it certainly won’t be because of lack of support from me.
I’m now in the final furlong with next year’s book, my deadline looms and don’t have a lot of time for blogging, but if you haven’t had enough of my blethering you can find me on the History Girls tomorrow, October 11th. My subject: the manly art of knitting.
Goodness, one of my earliest shopping memories is being taken to the Midland Educational Company to buy pens and rulers. We used to buy books at Smiths in Melton, my first ever purchase was with a book token I’d got for Christmas and I’m afraid it was Enid Blyton – The Island of Adventure. I’ve still got it.
I too have a serious book buying habit – my excuse is that as I live in France and can’t go to the library I have to make sure I’ve got a good selection, enough to satisfy every reading need, in the house with me.