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!