Long, long ago

... I'd written about how my personal library now expands almost entirely thanks to the existence of street-vendors and charity shops. Well, five years since then and things are pretty much the same. And yet, not.

I still almost never buy new books for myself, although I don't buy as many books anymore* either.  I still prefer thumbed-through books, but I've started leaning towards ones that not that thumbed-through. I pick up random books that seem interesting, but only if they seem really interesting, and are likely to be re-read over the years.

I've also entered what I can only term as a period of consolidation.  Which means I'm replacing copies that have become decrepit over time (if they weren't already to start with**). I still don't mind a faded cover and yellowed pages, but I no longer seem to compromise on torn corners and ink marks.

Most curiously, I've got to the point where I'm begun selecting (and discarding) books on the basis of their book covers.  So I will only pick up a Discworld book if it's one of the original Corgi prints with the Josh Kirby designs, rather than the miserably 'adult' Harper Collins ones. I used to think it was just that I wanted to standardise any series I had, but now I find myself rejecting stand-alone titles because the cover is 'meh'.

And I'm also doing this by size. I keep finding myself staring at my shelves and getting irritated because a line of books by the same author are of varying heights and disrupt the flow of the book-line. I keep comparing different formats against each other to try and figure out which one I prefer and why. And then I keep hoping I'm not getting all obsessive-compulsive.

Thankfully, I'm not yet (too) fussed about the font size and page colour, but I suspect I'm headed there.

All of which only adds more impetus to my book-hunting, and introduces a heightened element of thrill. The joy of finding that one title you don't have in the cover you prefer in the size you like, for a sum that's a bargain, after months of searching through stacks of dusty piles? As the ad says: Priceless.

At any rate, the temporary adrenaline kick at such a discovery helps me pretend a little longer that I'm not just turning into a middle-aged fussy fusspot.

* I've even had to tap my inner executioner and cull my library***. This is what happens when you greedily accept random books your friends and relatives don't want, or buy ones that are on sale for 20p, in the hope that they might be interesting. And they turn out not to be.  Also, lack of space.
** Why would I buy such books in the first place? Because - a) I just had to have them then; and b) They were a bargain.
*** I needed therapy after the act(s). I still blame my evil twin.


Brinda said...

Apparently Eloor Library in Delhi is shutting down and moving back south -- and is therefore selling ALL books at half price. Is it morally and legally right to not buy?

??! said...

Why would you have an issue on either front? Because of the second-hand nature, or because it's a library?

PS. Personally, I'd just go raid my bank balance.
PPS. When is this sale again? And is it open only to members? I know a few Dilliwallas who might mount a mission to 'rescue' these books.

Brinda said...

I think those books deserve a home (MY home) at once. BUT if I buy any more books, there'll be no place for me at home, office OR the car. The sale, in any case, is on till end December at the South-Ex Eloor. Mission rescue books is a go :-)

??! said...

"I think those books deserve a home"
Therefore, it's morally right to buy them!

As for the space, well, who needs more than a couple of plates and mugs anyway? (I share your pain though)