Sunday, 4 March 2012


Contemplating my photo for today (bedside), I'm looking at the pile of books.  There's always a pile of books on my bedside table.  You should see the one on the other side - it has an even taller stack.  And my bed head has a secret compartment and above that there's space to put even more books.  Then there's the stacks of books against walls and lying two deep in book shelves.  It has always been so.

The stack of books beside the bed may look the same for months on end, but that does not mean I'm not reading.  There is never a time when I am not reading at least one book.  I borrow books from the library.  My strategy to reduce the number of books coming in to my house is to reserve the ones I want to read and then pick them up when they're ready.  That's one of the reasons the pile may not move much.

Where I can't borrow the book from the library and there is some reason for me to own my own copy, I try first to buy it as an ebook for my Sony ereader.  At least then there's not another physical presence taking floorspace.

When that doesn't work, I will buy the book and it will be added to the pile.  If it's not the kind of book I need to hang onto, I'll turn it over at my local second hand bookstore.  The discipline when I go there is to not come home with more books than I took in.

All my friends and family know that I love to read so they tend to give me books for birthdays and Christmas.  I love them for it.  I think they are brave imagining they can choose something that I have not read or do not already own.  There are two friends whom I recall getting sucked into a hell loop as they delivered my birthday gift.  It was a book I had read.  They asked me to tell them if I had read the book already, so I did.  They took it back and exchanged it for another title which on presentation was discovered to be yet another title I had already read. In one of the cases they returned with a cute pair of socks instead.  In the case of the other friend, she went back and forth about five times and then it became embarrassing and frustrating for both of us.  I can't remember what happened in the end.  Maybe I lied.

In these days of blogs and apps like "we read" on facebook or websites like librarything it's possible to tell the world what you're reading, what you've read and what you'd like to read.  Maybe that will minimise the risk of needing to settle for socks.  I took it as a good sign that both of my friends had a very good idea of what I like to read.

I have to take a longish flight tomorrow and am looking forward to some uninterrupted reading time.  I'll be taking a couple of books because I know I'll finish one on both legs of the journey.  On the way over it will be "American Journeys" by former Prime Minister Paul Keating's speech writer Don Watson.  (So far I've visited New Orleans post hurricane Katrina and now I'm in Birmingham, Alabama.)  I am yet to make my selection for the return journey.  Something light I think.

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