I am lucky to have a wonderful second-hand bookshop near where I live – and libraries have played the same role all my life. You wander in, looking for something. You drift along the shelves until something catches your eye. Something does! You stop. You read the blurb, read about the author … test a couple of pages. Snap the book shut and take it home. There must be PhDs written about how we choose books, but it remains a mystery to me how I do. How, for example, did I come home only last week with a book that was exclusively about rare Mauritian stamps? Not a novel, mind you, a scholarly work on Mauritian Blues (and less importantly, Mauritian Reds). I have no interest in collecting stamps – never have had – but the book was quite fascinating in its way. I learned something, tucked a bit of information away – and who knows where it will pop out again. (Certainly not me.)
I live my life, and have always lived my life, surrounded by books. In a recent move, my own books were packed away for a couple of weeks. I missed them so much. When I unpacked them (and there are a few thousand of them) I immediately wondered where one of them was (don’t panic, it turned up mis-filed in the children’s section). I would go as far as to say that books are the loves of my life.
It’s just such a pity that they are so very heavy when one lives a nomadic kind of a life.