Booking Through Thursday: Book Hoarding

This week has been a very hectic one, and I completely forgot about Booking Through Thursday until I visited Matthew’s blog and saw his response.

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

As much as I love the act of reading itself, books are invariably physical objects and I think many book lovers simply enjoy the feel of paper in their hands. And it is also indisputable that our books are a part of us – they alter with us, and they are very much personalised objects.

I suppose what I mean is that each of our books evokes a particular memory – perhaps more than one. For instance, a few years back I went on a two-month trip around South-East Asia with one [now very worn] copy of The Lord of the Rings that I purchased at the airport. Every time I read my particular copy of that book I am reminded of sweltering summer days, dragonfly-catching and crisp cotton dresses.

But the best example I have is Jane Eyre. My copy was so worn out that I bought a new one recently, but every time I open it I fail to be immersed in it, and I find myself turning back to the old worn copy. Usually, though, I’ll read the library’s copy of a book before purchasing it – unless it’s a ‘classic’. Those I know I’ll appreciate and re-read over and over again.


9 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Book Hoarding

  1. There definitely is something about having the book. I develop a relationship with my books, and I sometimes like to sit and look at them just to remember, as you said, times in my life or moments in the book itself. I have many family members (especially those who help us move boxes and boxes of books) who don’t quite understand this. But now that I have children who haven’t developed these relationships yet, I’m anxious for them to start anticipating what they have in store for them as they come to know the physical books themselves.

  2. I loved that word picture of you traipsing around south east Asia in your cotton dress, carrying a dampish copy of Lord of the Rings :) Lovely writing.

  3. I’m with you that books are like companions being with us through the stations of life. My shelves showcase my reading history, which also reminds me of fond memories from college and high school years.

  4. Trevor – a lot of my family members don’t enjoy books the way I do, so I definitely understand how you feel

    gautami – ditto, although I won’t mind reading a library book before purchasing my own copy

    Becca – thanks; it was a great trip :)

    Matthew – hmmm, isn’t it wonderful how books can contain memories?

  5. john – I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post on why every book lover should build their own library, and I agree with all the things you say. Often I will let a book go, only to find that it’s gone the next time I look for it …

  6. I’m sure there are sadder things than that space in our collections where a cherished book once rested, but at the time of discovery, it does not seem so.

  7. That’s very sad too! It happened recently enough to me, with an old well-loved copy of Anne of Green Gables. More often, though, I’ll see a book I want to purchase at the bookstore (of which there’s only one copy left), not purchase it, then grumble for a week when I find it’s not there anymore!

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