Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Oh, I admit it. One of the things I am not good at exercising control over is my book-buying habit.

(Yes, my town has a library, but it's small, and it often doesn't have a book I hear about and want to read).

And I don't care for reading off electronic devices, all of my Luddite concerns about some wireless hacker going into them and changing or deleting "my" books aside, I want my books to be ink on paper.

This is also my favorite time of the year for reading. The nights get cold, it gets dark early, I can pile up quilts on my bed and crawl in with whatever I'm reading at the moment. There's something very private about a book. It's just you and the page.

Right now, I'm reading Antonia Fraser's history of The Gunpowder Plot, and I have another book on the topic by a different author (I forget which one) for a later time. (I realize that some history carries the biases or opinions or the hypotheses its author supports most ardently, so it works best for me to read a couple different authors on topics like this).

I have a huge stack of books by my bed - The Manga Guide to Calculus, so I can reteach myself the one math topic I admit I never fully understood (but I think I need to review some algebra first; that may be where I went wrong in calculus - didn't have a good grounding in algebra). I have something called Operation Mincemeat, which is about WWII in Britain (a favorite topic of mine). I have "Quiet" - that book about introverts which I keep planning to read and then other things jump in front of it in the queue. I have a couple books on Shakespeare (I've been trying to read a Shakespeare play a year, to make up for not having read many in high school, and not really having much literature coursework in college). I have Simon Winchester's "Atlantic" (I love those huge, sweeping histories that incorporate lots of different narrative threads). I have "Shop Class as Soulcraft," another one of those books like "Quiet" that I say I "should" read and somehow don't quite get to. (I've read part of it before). I have "The Monks of New Skete and the Art of Happiness."

And on, and on. And I bought a bunch more this weekend when I was at the bookstore - Thomas Cahill's newest (I have all his other books and have read most of them, so I want to read this too). Another book on Shakespeare, this one called Shakespeare's Restless World. And the newest one from the person who wrote "How the Scots Invented the Modern World." (another one of those huge, sweeping history books - this new one promises to go from Aristotle to the Internet, or somesuch).

Most of these are in hardback. I know, more expensive and take up more space, but you know? I love hardbacks. I love their heft, I love their permanent feel.

I just have to find somewhere to store them. Or perhaps weed my collection pretty ruthlessly and donate to the university library....they have taken donations of scholarly books from me before and incorporated some of them into their collections. (I figure, if I'm unlikely to want to read it again, might as well give it, and make the room for something else. And then maybe someone else can benefit from the information).

I admit, I love buying books almost as much as I love reading them. My town doesn't have a proper bookstore but Next Biggest City does, and of course there's Powell's and Amazon and Bas Bleu and all of the little independent sellers who sell online or by catalog...

1 comment:

Sheila O'Malley said...

I'm with you. I have to work so hard to keep the book collection under control. I love to hear about other people's book collections/reading lists. That Antonia Fraser book sounds really interesting! The Shakespeare Wars is fascinating - may want to check it out if you haven't already. It's not about the authorship controversy - but it's about the battle of the scholars over the centuries to deal with Shakespeare. It's funny and invigorating. Highly recommended!! I'm reading Victor Serge's memoirs right now. FASCINATING ground-level look at the Russian Revolution by a man who saw really early what was coming down the pike. Happy reading!