Death by books?

25 Aug

I love books. I’m pretty sure that I always have. I have a lot of them. I grew up in a house where at least one wall in each room has books on it. I always suspected that we had more books in our house than the local library. This is partly due to certain members of my family having a kind of attitude towards acquiring books not dissimilar to that of a substance-abuse junkie. Charity shops are the killer. And remainder sales. And deceased friends and relatives who’s books need a home. And closing down libraries. And skips (with books in them – no, it wasn’t a dream, it really happened, at an old people’s home).

 I already have too many books and since I work in a bookshop, I acquire, without even trying, at least two books a month. What?! There’s no such thing as too many books I hear you say. Well, not long ago, it came to my attention that it would be impossible for me to read all the books I possess in my own lifetime. And that’s just the ones have on my shelf. I haven’t even bought Wolf Hall yet! This makes me sad. It feels as though I have a lot of books to read and this thought haunts me all the live long day. I once couldn’t sleep because I wasn’t sure which book I should read next and worried about the slowness of my reading. If only I could work out a way to read more efficiently! Oh to be like Superman with his super-human reading abilities! Damn my slow eyes and brain! I am slowly trying to come to terms with this and simply enjoy the fact that I can read at all, that no one has ever read ‘all the books’ (except for Coleridge; I hate him) and get on with my life. Like Sylvia Plath, who also complained ‘I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want,’ I must accept the fact that I am, as she put it, ‘horribly limited’. I can only hope that this realisation wasn’t what drove her to suicide….Happy reading everyone!

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