bookmark_borderHow many books is too many?

I have a lot of books. I have a lot of unread books. I keep saying I’ll go through the ones I’ve read and ditch some but I never do. Instead I buy more. I don’t know why I do that. Why do I do that? Why do I buy more? I have enough as it is, many unread. So why, as I have many books, do I buy?

It’s a compulsion, etched into my mind, an inherited trait that I can’t fight, an itch that remains out of reach no matter which way I toss and turn.

I have books on all sorts of topics, fictional stories that others have recommended, factual books on many topics, from mental wellbeing, web design, philosophy, gardening, exercise, movies and more. Just about all of them are kept for some tenuous reason or another but I really need to let go…

But that doesn’t help solve the puzzle of why I keep buying new books, especially as I have so many that remain unread, some of which I purchased several years ago.

I’ll quite happily admit that I bought a few books with ‘betterment’ in mind (and ‘of mind’). Be they a classic novel or a book on the great philosophical thinkers (bought from Meg I think) I deliberately chose them with a view to becoming better read, whatever that means, although I quickly ditched those in favour of the really highbrow stuff (The Da Vinci Code for example) so that reasoning has back-fired.

I wonder if I buy books because I don’t trust my memory and I’m scared I’ll forget the name or author of that one killer book? Perhaps I need to do is hack my brain to chuck the name and author of a book into a list, rather than just order it “because it’s only £4.99”. I mean we all know what lies at the end of that road, “it’s only £4.99” soon becomes, “yeah but I’m gettin’ 4 books for under £20!”, swiftly followed by “Ohhh one more for free shipping…”.

I buy books based on author, David Mitchell, Ian Rankin, Alice Sebold, and ignore them for the latest James Patterson. Hell I’ve probably read more pages from Esquire magazine in the past 6 months than I have pages of a book. I know I go through spells of reading but this is becoming an increasingly dry time. A fallow spell of unbroken spines, if you will.

Why do I read? For enjoyment largely. I enjoy the escape, the way time slips past in the shadows as you immerse yourself deeper and deeper into the words on the page.

If this were a movie, this is where you’d get a CGI scene with the words floating up off the page and spinning up and round me as I sit, transfixed.

Ohh and whilst I remember, you bloggers who have had books published (I count 5 on my shelf) aren’t helping!

You know what, perhaps a clear out would help. Allow me to refocus on the books I’ve not read. Yes yes, a clear out is in order.

Let’s not be too hasty though… let me just check what Amazon have on sale…

bookmark_borderRanty moan

Why is the weather so crap at the moment? It’s almost June and I was freezing standing at the station this morning.

Why are people complaining about Big Brother? Surely they are used to it by now? Shouldn’t they just be ignoring it?

Why do people make such a fuss about whether Scots are supporting England or not? And what’s with this “British Day” nonsense? Surely, and feel free to correct me on this, you only consider yourself British AFTER you’ve considered your ‘home nationality’. I’m a Scot first and foremost. Same with the English, Welsh, and Irish. No?

Of course the commentators love us to be British when it’s a Scots person winning something… ahhh yes, Liz McColgan, pride of Britain. Linford Christie, English lion. What?! This is said only somewhat in jest, one day I’d love to have the time to analyse this in detail to see whether my gut feel is correct or not, for the meantime I’m happy to proffer it forth for discussion/ridicule (it’s all about the comments people!).

Why is there such hype about the Da Vinci Code? Last night there were at least three different “exploring the…” shows on TV. Enough already. Bloody religious nutters the lot of them. Yes, I’m talking about you Catholic lot. Enough already. IT’S FICTION. IT’S NOT REAL.

Note to self: Must finish that post about how we are now reaping the uneducated seeds that we have sown (note the religious undertones of that sentence.. smart huh..).

AND… umm…

No. I think that’s me. Bit of a pathetic moan really.. must try harder!

What about you? What would you like to moan about? Go on, get it off yer chest.


I’m an avid reader of Ian Rankin’s Rebus books but, for some reason, I missed the publication of his latest paperback Fleshmarket Close. So, last week, after a quick check on the interweb I spotted it on Amazon with £3 off. Excellent. Ordered.

It arrived at work today. All good so far.

However, based on the book that arrived, I’d like to suggest to Amazon that they include the dimensions of the book somewhere on the page. Why? Well, let’s delve into the mind of an over-organised, slightly obsessive, bookworm.

You know I mean me, right? OK.

I have my copies of every previous Rebus paperback arranged in order on a shelf in the living room. They are all the same A format paperback size (178mm by 111mm if you really want to know), have the same styling and are all neatly numbered on the back. They look neat and tidy sitting directly underneath a shelf that has quite a few Iain Banks novels, all with the same styled black and white covers (i.e. not his Sci-Fi stuff). Neat and tidy.

So imagine my disgust when, upon opening that clever Amazon packaging, I find a book that is a completely different size to, and has a completely different cover design from, all the other Rebus books I own. My disgust was so palpable that I vented forth with a few choice expletives causing some enquiring glances from my work colleagues, glances which turned rather more quizzical when I explained the orderly way I keep my bookshelves. Never before have I arched so many eyebrows, I think they always suspected I was a bit odd but here, finally, was clarification.

Of course all I need to do is return the abomination of a book to Amazon and order the correctly sized one, once I figure out which one that is of course. Off to the Amazon UK website I went.

I’m going to pause at this juncture as I realise my actions may seem somewhat odd as it’s only the cover of a book, by which it shouldn’t be judged after all, but if you really think that you are missing the point and should stop reading this instant. Honestly, this is about to get a lot worse and it will only leave you more befuddled than before.

OK, from here onwards I’m only talking to my fellow bookworms who understand that there is more to collecting books than reading them. Ohh sure, we all pretend that it’s only the content we enjoy but let’s be honest, you don’t have The Da Vinci Code on your bookshelf in the living room any more, oh no, it’s been relegated upstairs and replaced by Don Quixote, hasn’t it.

Hmmm I feel I may have just exposed the shallowness that pervades my book organising habits. I DO enjoy reading for reading’s sake. I am not a book snob. I did enjoy The Da Vinci Code. But yes, I do keep all my “better” novels downstairs, and all the Dan Brown, James Patterson and Stephen King upstairs.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand.

After spending countless minutes of my life, minutes lost forever never to be returned, I discovered that all the covers of Mr. Rankin’s books have been, to use the vernacular, “updated”. I’m unclear as to whether this is to keep things inline with his website or to tie-in with the TV versions of the stories, but the fact remains that the books now look different. Ohh sure, I can get a copy of Fleshmarket Close without Ken Stott’s mug on the front, but even then they’ve used a different font to display the author’s name on the spine, not to mention the book number now hidden three quarters of the way down the back page.

Fourteen books have passed, the design has not been tampered with, why now? In a pique of incredulousness I ventured out into slushy, snowbound Glasgow, trudged to Waterstones and then onto Borders only to have my suspicions confirmed at both locations.

The old book design is dead.

Like a parrot.

My shelf is ruined.

bookmark_borderThings wot I have been done

Celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary with a meal at a Mongolian banquet.
Installed dishwasher (a present from Mum and Dad from my Dad’s retiral money).
Got very drunk three four times.
Had NO hangovers three mornings after (alas the fourth one did materialise).
Got new mobile phone. Had problems with new phone. Got new phone fixed (just about anyhoo).
Started work on the new fireplace in the living room.
Finished the Da Vinci Code, London Fields and some others… Yes I read some books.
Sent off my Tax Return.
Took some photos (!).
Started planning a camping holiday in France for next year.
Installed and played with WordPress.
And a myriad of other little things which brought me joy but don’t need reported here (long walks, time with family etc etc).

Site news: comment boxes should now be wider, and I’ll look at the left margin but it took me ages to get this layout cracked (content appears first) and I don’t wanna break anything. More random photos will be added as I start snapping with my camera phone.

And thanks for the comments. I DID have a good break thanks, and yeah it is kinda nice to be “back”. Now if I can just get the ole blogging engine fired up again we should be all set.


Da Vinci Code – Mona Lisa ~ Munch stolen.

And I’ve just had the following books delivered:
London Fields – Martin Amis ~ Murders in Twickenham (friends live there).
Leaving Home – Garrison Keillor ~ Laura flies out to Australia today.
Labyrinths – Jorge Luis Borges ~ Emmmm… not sure yet, but it must mean something…

Funny old world. Ain’t it.

bookmark_borderIrish Coffee

Well just about survived the weekend. Saturday was a sad farewell to Laura, before rushing from her leaving party – where most people from work turned up between 9-9.30pm, I was sure it said it started at 8! – to head to Louise’s cousins for a family night with my in-laws as the star guests.. or whatever excuse we used this time.

I should’ve known better.

I had plans for Sunday, but they didn’t include drinking until 4am. Still, we had a nice Sunday lunch with my family before nipping round the rest of the Dumbarton based brethren then heading home with the sole aim of lying on the sofa and watching whatever the Olympics dictated. I managed THAT bit.

Of course now, despite having been tired all day, I can’t get to sleep. According to my body clock, ten past midnight is still early. Well it’ll give me time to do some research into the accuracy of The Da Vinci Code which I’m almost finished reading. Fact or fiction? Either way it’s a fascinating book.