bookshelves

It’s gray outside

Sitting in my room, in silence, looking at the book spines all around me, I often ask myself to what an extent does my humble library reflect my personal affinities. Sometimes, for some reason, it bothers me that I cannot say „Yes, I liked/read every one of these books. They are all a part of me in some way or another and every one of them has a particular reason for being on these shelves.“ And by a particular reason, I don’t mean having a collection of Zola’s works because he is one of the boulders of French literature… Although, I am not absolutely sure why this reason is not good enough.

At times, my mind rebels against the purely personal library I long for – why not own a classic I haven’t read? The aforementioned Zola, for example – I don’t know if I will ever read his l’Assommoir or La Bête Humaine but if someday I decide to pick it up – it will be there… (Sometimes I can approve of this kind of reasoning. Other times not.) And, why not act on an impulse, take a risk and buy a book that seems interesting? So what if it proves a bad choice and you have to get rid of it as soon as possible – as it happened with The American Psycho? Of course, sometimes the book proves to be a good choice – giving money in exchange for the Kleine Philosophie für Berenike made me pretty enthusiastic. Overjoyed, I carried it around wherever I went, anticipating the reading and trying to recollect whatever had survived of my long forgotten German.

It feels different, buying these ‘magnetic’ books… I guess I wish I could feel such joy every time I am buying a book. I remember being almost indifferent while purchasing Oliver Twist. I bought it just because it was Dickens. There was nothing to it but a mild satisfaction of knowing my library is richer with one new title. Which is bad, in a way.

Now I feel I am making a big deal out of nothing…

Maybe I will read Oliver Twist, and come to like it and then there’ll be a better excuse for owning it.

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4 thoughts on “It’s gray outside

  1. I’ve often wondered the same thing. I’ve been going through my books and deciding which I want to donate because I really only want to have a core group of books and the rest (which are like Oliver Twist in your case– haven’t read it yet either) I’ll download to my iPad.

    1. I have always had this dream of having a huge library.. Considering I am passing by street book-sellers almost every day I think I am becoming pretty good at restraining myself from stopping and buying something. So, Oliver Twists happen very rarely these past months..
      And I am always borrowing books from friends or libraries and after reading, if I like them I note them on my list.
      And when I get my hands on one of those e-readers I will use it in the same way, I think..

      But I think I will never be able to stick only to the core, as you called it. I am too much of a collector. And there is a particular kind of pleasure in sitting in a room with many books you know almost nothing about. Like having a public library all to yourself..

  2. Nice perspective, with DIckens as other prolific authors, sometimes it just feels like collecting for collectings sake no matter how good the author is. A lot of books impress in the moment but the truly covetous books, the ones we have to have…well that’s a whole different ball game.

    It is all to easy to fall back on the it’ll be there if/when I want to read it but perhaps less is more with book buying these days…it sometimes seems to easy with Amazon and the like around to make a purchase of what we want. I tend to ration out the buying to enhance the experience these days.

    1. I keep my have-to-haves on a favorite-bookshelf. Others are on the big one and all around the room. But, I feel I don’t want to be without them. I need them too. In a different way, of course. And there are not many of them I would give away, a dozen maybe. Two at the most.
      It sure is easy to make a purchase – thinking of internet, considerable number of book fairs and street sellers but it was never so easy with the money I could spend on books. (Here, people have a saying: A house is a bottomless pit.. meaning it costs a lot because there is always something to fix, to install, to change..) That is one of the main reasons I feel bad when I happen to buy something on an impulse.. Thinking I could have used the money on a better loved book/s..
      I was doing a good job keeping myself under a more strict control these previous months.

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