Tuesday 15 October 2013

Some thoughts on books

Books at an early age
My father was the youngest of nine siblings and we lived with my grandmother. There were nearly always cousins in the house and all older than me. At one point they could read and I couldn’t. Reading seemed to involve staring at the page for a long time. So, I would stare at my pages for a long time and tell myself the story the pictures suggested. Many of the books I knew very well and even knew the words in them, though I couldn’t read them. Later the symbols began to mean something.  

The way I choose books now  
I now have a Kindle and tend to use that for reading new books. I keep it charged up with about thirty unread books. If I stumble across something that might be interesting, I’ll buy it straight away if I have fewer than twenty-nine unread books on my Kindle.
I also buy books at people’s book events. They feel like the souvenir of the event. And I’ll also buy visually attractive ones. I’d rather buy books than clothes. Sadly, though, you can’t wear books. They’d be uncomfortable and they wouldn’t keep you warm. But despite the Kindle I still enjoy browsing in bookshops and often come home with a book instead of a pair of shoes.  
What causes the excitement? Perhaps it’s the thought of encountering new ideas or of being taken into new worlds.
I go to the library too, because I want to support libraries and other writers.
Why we keep books
At home in my study I have five tall shelves of books I can’t throw away. In our spare bedroom we have one shelf of books for guests and we don’t mind if they take them away with them – apart from the art history books, that is. In our bedroom we have my husband’s collection of Terry Pratchett books. I have about fifty books I haven’t read yet.
In our garage we store copies of books I have written. They are given away or sold and are replaced.  
Life-style gurus tell us books are clutter and we should get rid of them but I like the look of them.  Aren’t they extra insulation, anyway? It is a little odd, I suppose, lining our walls with other people’s thoughts. Or are they trophies and are we saying “Look, these ideas helped to form me.”?
Reading a book is my default activity and my next favourite one is writing one. Books forever, I say.  

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