Monday, 17 February 2014

My Name’s Mark, and I’m a Book Addict…

This past week, as I ordered yet another book off the internet, and settled down to re-read one of my old favourites, I realised that I’m a genuine book addict. I hold my hand up: I own a silly number of books – traditional ones, not digital ones – and it’s long past the point where I have the room to physically store them in my house, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife.

The shelves of antiquarian books at
Bromley House are a sight to behold.
While I was thinking about the degrees to which my book addiction has taken hold of my life, I knew at once that I wasn’t alone. A quick browse around Twitter or Facebook will find hordes of self-confessed bibliophiles all sharing their passion for the printed word. So I had a think about the traits that define my addiction, and – in true internet style – I came up with a top ten. Let’s see how many of these you recognise in yourself…

1. You belong to more than one library
I’ve joined a local library everywhere I’ve lived (and never technically left any of them). These days, living in Nottingham
I also belong to a private subscription library – the wonderful Bromley House – which is a trove of treasures.

This is my reading chair.
There are many like it,
but this one is mine.
2. You own a ‘reading chair’, or have a designated ‘reading space’.
A special place for reading just helps you switch off from the rest of the world and enjoy the written word for what it is. It's like working at a desk rather than on the sofa.

3. You’ve developed a taste for the finer things
If I read in the day, I like to drink fresh filter coffee. If I read in the evening, I like a smoky single malt, or a nice ruby port. Mmm, port.

4. You’ve bought books you already own by mistake
Sometimes because it’s in a different format, or with a different cover – sometimes the same edition. It matters not. I’ve done it more than once!

5. You’ve bought books you already own on purpose!
Because a special edition of an old favourite, or a single binding of a story from an anthology, is just too good a chance to miss.

6. You can’t pick a favourite
Books are my babies. You can’t have a favourite baby, can you?

7. You’ve read your favourite novels more than once.
Remember, you can’t have just one favourite, so that’s a lot of re-reading. Christopher Lee apparently reads The Lord of the Rings every year. Even the bits in italics. He deserves a medal!
An eclectic mix, representing
approximately 0.5% of my collection...

8. You own more books than you’ve read.
A sad, sad confession. My compulsion to amass books outstrips my reading pace by a fair margin. I’ll get round to them all one day. Probably.

I mean, just look at this one!
If you can walk past this shop
without looking, you have
no soul. NO SOUL!
9. You find it impossible to walk past a second-hand bookshop.
Unless it’s closed, of course. But even then, you can window-shop, right? And there’s always treasure to be found, especially if it’s a really disorganised, sprawling old shop (see right)!

10. You don’t even own an e-reader.
The only controversial point on my list, I think. I can’t bring myself to buy a Kindle, because it means I might have to replace my beloved books with… well, with nothing, really. My love of books goes well beyond the words on the page; e-readers are great for some people, and the effect they’ve had on the reading public is fantastic – but they’re just not for me. I’m print and I’m proud!


  1. re: point 10.
    I don't own a dedicated e-reader, but have downloaded the Kindle app on my mobile devices. I've not bought a book/article yet, but found plenty of freebies to read, eg out-of-copyright books via Project Gutenberg‎. Also, free e-books from Amazon, etc ;)
    And I've found it useful to have my own PDF copy of various roleplaying games' rules books on the iPad rather than waiting for someone else to finish with the book. And I found a copy of my celtic knotwork book (George McBain) yesterday, so I can read it in the pub rather than ferry heavy books around.
    Nothing can replace print copies, you're right, but don't close yourself off to e-reading altogether!

  2. You make a fair point; there are some wonderful books available as part of Project Gutenberg, and maybe having them on the move would be handy... but it does grate with my Victorian sensibilities :-)