It’s that time of year again. Christmas has come, and sadly gone, and with it my endless list of “books wot I want,” has been for the most part fulfilled. And yet now comes the woe, it’s time to say good bye to some old friends.
Sad to say, the ‘No Vacancy’ sign is dangerously close to being hung on my book shelf again. Yet I’m so torn. It makes me want to cry when I have to say goodbye to books. It’s like watching ‘Up’ all over again.
I love books. I don’t just love them to read. I love to know I have them there. When I go to my to-read pile I pick up three orfour books before I even settle on the one I actually decide to read. There’s something fantastic about standing in front of that weight of words looming over me and promising me their adventures. So what do you do when the adventure ends?
It’s like choosing which of my friends hasn’t made the cut. I made new friends this year you see, the fantastic ‘All the Pretty Horses’ by Cormac McCarthy, which I wrote about previously, led to a wave of his books finding their way into my house. Not to mention the continuation of various series that keep me up at night pretending I’m a wizard or a space hero. I have so many friends, and they’re all different. Some of them have magic.
But what sad little tome has to suffer for the presence of these new friends? Is it the old fantasy trilogy I’ve been really meaning to re-read to check if I thought it was better the second time round? There’s only so many months in the year Mr Fantasy Trilogy, I’m just not sure if I’ll find time for you ever again.
What about the wonderful book which I now have two copies of – ‘Magician’ by Raymond E Feist. The first copy is a bedraggled testament to our long friendship, read through so many times you can barely open the pages to peek inside. The second copy is a shiny new edition bought so I would have the freedom to explore it again without the fear of losing it forever. Yet will I read either of you for the 20th time? Well yes, I probably will, but do I need both of you? Yes, actually I do.
So the terror inspired in my bookshelf creates a wave of badly organised piles and horribly stacked threats. Some books will always be safe, but others? How can I tell them their time is done? Do I go by what I might read again, or what I loved the most? Strange how those two don’t always overlap. Some mysteries were staggeringly enjoyable the first time round, but the knowledge acquired in the journey makes the second visit a disappointment. Some books are lost friends, you’re apart for a while, but a reunion overdue, and always enjoyed.
So how do you choose which books to go? Am I just a soppy book lover with attachment issues? I’m normal… right?