Book keeping

Diterbitkan: Isnin, 15 Disember 2008 12:00 AM

(Ubah saiz teks)

Like most obsessive book hoarders, I keep telling myself that I will catch up on my reading when I retire.

IF I were to take all the books in my house and reconstitute them, I’m sure I would be looking at quite a number of trees and gallons of printer’s ink.

Books can be found in every room of my house, on my balcony, and in my tiny attic. I know I should probably give some of them away, but I suspect I’m an obsessive book hoarder.

If a book is a page-turner that I was compelled to read in one sitting, I will keep it because I might want to read it again.

If a book taught me something, I will keep it because I might need reminding of the lessons I’ve learnt.

If a book was given to me as a present, I will keep it for sentimental reasons. It could be the biggest piece of %&*$ ever published and I would still hold onto it.

If a book smells good, I will keep it.

If a book was expensive, I will keep it.

All other books are kept because ... well, because they’re mine.

I’m not sure exactly how many trees have been chopped down to satisfy my reading habit over the years, but I’m ashamed to say that at least one tree has died just so I could amass a collection of books that have never been read.

Like most obsessive book hoarders, I keep telling myself that I will catch up on my reading when I retire.

Surely, I’m in denial. At this rate, I think I will need to give up work tomorrow and spend the remainder of my years reading a book every couple of days if I am to finish everything.

Even if I were to read all my unread books before I head for the big bookshop in the sky (and there can’t possibly be a heaven without a bookshop), I won’t need to buy another book ever again, because my fading memory will enable me to read previously read books and not remember a thing about the first reading.

My children used to feed my book hoarding tendencies by buying me books on my birthday and at Christmas time.

They would ask me to draw up a list of 10 books I would like to have as a present, then they would both buy one book each from the list. Just selecting the 10 books to put on my list was an exciting activity in itself.

Then, while waiting for the day to arrive when I could open my present, I would pester my children to give me clues as to the titles they’d chosen. To their credit, though, they never once told me.

A few years back, my children realised that I didn’t always get around to reading their gifts, so they stopped asking me to draw up a list.

On my birthday, I now receive earrings or toiletries, items that I’m guaranteed to use no matter how busy I might be. Still, I miss my little lists. I’m not a wasteful person by nature, so my pile of unread books does prick my conscience from time to time, so much so that I began devising a plan to reduce the ever-growing mountain. For example, I took to putting books in my bathroom, just so I could read a couple of sentences whenever I have cause to visit. However, that hasn’t proven to be an entirely satisfactory arrangement.

You see, I seldom find myself in the bathroom with my reading glasses on. So I’m forced to squint at the miniscule words in a book in an attempt to decipher them.

At this rate, it will take me another 12 years to finish reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, a seemingly extraordinary novel that I must finish if I am ever to watch the DVD of the same name, which I bought a while back.

It would seem that I have also amassed a number of DVDs that have never been watched. But that’s another story.

I guess I could keep a pair of spectacles in the bathroom all the time, but the temptation to read too much would be too great, and I would probably end up with piles or some other unpleasant side effect of reading on the loo.

Maybe I’ll go cold turkey and not buy another book until I’ve read all the unread books in my possession.

Maybe, I’ll stop reading book reviews.

Maybe, I’ll draw up a list of my 10 least favourite books and give them away.

Maybe.

iklan

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