Too many books! (again)

November 11, 2022

I’ve written about my problem before; since then, before moving house a few months back, I sold or donated to charity several hundred volumes I knew I’d not need again, that I’d never want to re-read, or that had been sitting in boxes in the loft for years.

This time, there’s another issue to mention: I keep reading book reviews and thinking, “there’s a book I must read!’ The problem here is lack of time, as well as lack of physical space for all those potential new acquisitions. Will I actually ever get round to reading that must-read book, or will the moment pass and my attention move on, leaving another book to gather dust on the waiting-to-be-read shelf? That shelf, incidentally, is probably two metres long. I have got better over the last couple of years at resisting temptation, and reached the stage where purchases have dwindled to less than two a month on average, but the built-up mental pressure of the backlog of books I really want to read is increasing. This is then compounded by the books physically on the shelves which call to me for a re-reading; I have been tackling a reasonable number of those recently, on the grounds that once I’ve re-read them, they’re probably surplus to requirements and so can safely be disposed of. Re-reading inevitably brings new discoveries, and revives old interests…

But then there’s the thing I have about loving to be surrounded by books, having a library of old favourites and good friends, as it were, that I can’t bear to part with. This leaves me feeling guilty about the problem I leave my eventual heirs: what the hell to do with all those cubic metres of paper?

As has always happened, any interesting reading opens potential new paths to follow, that I’d really like to pursue: again, realistically there’s so little time I feel I must be brutal; mentally I make a list and occasionally joke about saving those books for my next existence…

And then, there are the books I very occasionally think about writing myself. In my student days I imagined writing science fiction, and doubtless somewhere are the pieces of paper with ideas scratched and scribbled on them in drunken and stoned moments so very long ago. There is a dissertation, and also a thesis, from a couple of my research degrees, and there are two or three study guides for A Level students penned during my retirement years, the royalties from which I count as my whisky money, but there’s nothing of great moment there. Words, words, words, as someone once said. And they are swamping me. But I love them.


One Response to “Too many books! (again)”

  1. This all sounds very familiar. Because someone brought in The Illustrated Wordsworth Guides to the Lakes to a writing group I promptly had to order my own copy – online for the sum of £2.80. Irresistible and such a lovely book!


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