Sunday, November 8, 2020

27 Genuine Reasons I have Bought Books

 I really liked Stuck in a Book's post about book buying reasons, not least because so many of them struck a chord with me. Liked it so much indeed, and felt such an affinity that here's me own list.

I too have bought a book because it was a nicer edition than the one I already owned - but rarely because I have a real dislike of having duplicate copies.

I've bought plenty of books because I liked the painting on the cover - it's a big part pf the appeal of the original green spined Virago Modern Classics.

Unlike Simon I don't much like the smell of musty old books, but I do love the inky smell of a new book which is why I prefer to buy them. I've also bought more than one perfume because it smells like new books.

I have definitely bought books on the back of friends enthusiasm - mostly blogging friends, but sometimes non blogging friends. I can't remember how many of them I've read or liked, but it's not a bad ratio.

I've bought lots of books because I was in an independent bookshop and felt I had to buy something. The last time I did it was in Forum Books in Corbridge in January. It was A Vintage Christmas and I loved it.

I will regularly buy books because a publisher I like has published the same author. This is particularly true of Virago, but not limited to them.

"Because it was a shade of blue I loved". Hello Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Because of it's format - is exactly the reason I first bought Pushkin Press books. It's something I really like about the Little Toller Monographs as well. They fit perfectly into a pocket and are extremely pleasing.

I have bought a lot of books because Georgette Heyer mentions them, I've even read quite a lot of them.

I absolutely bought Anthony Blunt on French art after finding out he was a spy as well as an art historian. I did need to read the book but could have borrowed it from the library.

I have just about managed to collect all of Vanbrugh's plays, bought because he was a spy as well as an architect, and an amusing playwright. 

I've bought books because they had Lobsters in the title.

Because I've found a £10 note in the street and what else would I do with it... (I think the right answer is turn it into a police station, don't judge me to harshly).

Bought lots of books because they were set on Scottish Islands.

And far to many books because I thought I ought to like the author.

Also because I thought I should be interested in the subject. Books about the Bloomsbury group spring to mind.

I've bought lots of books to celebrate things.

I've bought just as many to commiserate with myself when things have gone badly.

This is a trap I've got better at avoiding, but I've also bought books because I feel I ought to have them. Do we ever read those?

I have bought books because I know the author (in real life not just on the internet, but also because of the internet).

Occasionally I've bought books at author/publishing events because I felt like I ought to. Some of them have turned out well.

I have a lot of Mary Webb books because I collect original Virago Modern Classics. I've never read anything longer than one of her short stories, which I didn't particularly enjoy. I have not, and never will buy Precious Bane. I've got a lot of Edith Wharton I haven't read either, but there's a better chance I'll get to her.

I've bought books because I've realised I've come out the house without one and panicked.

I have quite a few old Penguins because I thought the titles were amusing.

Because the author was a contemporary of Jane Austin, or she might have read them. Which if I'm honest I probably know because of Georgette Heyer. This has mostly worked out well for me, same with writers who were friendly with Charles Dickens. 

Which is how I discovered Wilkie Collins, and why I bought a book where a character turns blue. 

I've bought a lot of books because of who publishes them. I know of no better way to find something new than to trust a publisher who has proved reliable.  


  1. Love your list, Hayley! I am intrigued by Lobster titles - what has brought that on? I have Lobster Salad by Leo Walmsley, or at least did at one point, but have yet to read anything by him.

    1. It was an old penguin - I can't remember the title and I'm not at home at the moment to check, but it appealed to me, as would something called Lobster Salad if I saw it. It's probably because Lobster is a bit of a tradition when I'm up with dad.

  2. I loved Simon's list and your one is just as fun! I particularly relate to buying books both to celebrate and to commiserate.

    1. There's a Lilly Bollinger quote about all the reasons she drinks champagne. That's more or less me with books.

  3. Oh, I love your list, and can relate to lots of your reasons for buying books, especially those lovely, old, green-spines Viragos, which is why I also have several Mary Webb books (including Precious Bane), despite the fact that I do not like her!

  4. I loved Simon's list, and I love yours too. I added some of my reasons on Simon's but I have thought of yet more:
    - to complete a series
    - because it is listed on the back/dust jacket of a book I already have
    - because the shop was doing 3 for 2 so the third one didn't count as it was "free"

    1. I don't altogether miss the frantic search for that 3rd book, there were only ever 2 on any offer I ever wanted. Completing a series is very much a thing, although again I'm not to bothered about matching covers. Wanting the other books in the back or on the dust jacket is something that takes me back to childhood almost. I haven't yet seen a bad reason for buying a book!