Having spent the evening with a friend who’s been known to buy a book or two herself, and conversation having drifted round to where we might find the ultimate promised land of reasonably priced, well stocked, second hand bookshops I am ready to admit that I might be more of a collector then a reader. Ever since I was a child I've wanted my own Library, and have gathered books accordingly. I often wonder how many volumes I need before my shelves can claim their true title?
I do read, and I'm obsessive about having a book with me. I'm the woman who won’t leave the house without a book in her bag, even if it’s just to browse round town – or visit a friend. Most of the time I'm not sure that one book is enough, if a journey is in the offing it will indeed be more than one book, no holiday is complete without a small library in attendance. My preferred coat is a Barbour because of the number of excellent book carrying pockets it carries, yet I probably only read a couple of books a week.
Nothing to be ashamed of in that until I consider how many books I buy in the same time, a number that often reaches double figures in seven days. If it was just about reading I would use public libraries, but it’s very rare that I do – I hate to give the books back. Often I buy things knowing I won’t pick them up again for months, maybe years, but I want to know they’re sitting on the shelf waiting for me. Some books – I'm looking at a stack almost a foot high made up of six Everyman volumes of Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – I’m sure I will never read, but they where a pound each in Oxfam. How could I resist? After all it’s the sort of thing any well furnished library needs...
I find the book as an object is as important to me as its contents, not more important, but definitely as important. I'm not a fan of hard backs or special editions, though I have both, paperbacks; lovely, light, compact, cheap paperbacks are my first and true love, and I can’t get enough of them.