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Caged Books

Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books
Fiona must not buy any more books


But the trouble is... there are so many I want to buy. The question is do I need them? With so many books in my bookshelf to be read I am hard put to actually find space for them. What I need are more shelves but soon enough I won't be able to get into my bedroom for all the books. I will be reduced to sleeping under the bed whilst my books snuggle up under the covers. 

The thing is you see, is that I buy quite often on impulse. I buy on feelings - and what I feel one day I might not feel the other day so I think to myself if I do not get it today I may not get it tomorrow and then end up missing out on a good book. This has happened to me many a time - a whim caused me to buy a book and read it soon after, one that I would never have read before otherwise, that was so out of my zone I would never have considered it on a normal day.

Take Haruki Murakami for example. He is a Japanese author who abstract, magical realism novels that frankly... had you tried introducing me to him in any other way I'd have pooh-poohed him as too weird and not of my taste. However I was attracted to The Wind-up Bird Chronicle one day in the bookshop. I cannot explain why but there was something.

This is the description on the back:

Bad things come in threes for Toru Okada. He loses his job, his cat disappears, and then his wife fails to return from work. His search for his wife (and his cat) introduces him to a bizarre collection of characters, including two psychic sisters, a possibly unbalanced teenager, an old soldier who witnessed the massacres on the Chinese mainland at the beginning of the Second World War, and a very shady politician.

 Why did this interest me? I generally do not like books that have a list of seemingly unrelated elements listed and no discernible storyline at all. I like something that looks like it is going to come together - that sounds like a story. I do not like things that sound like a lot of different things mangled into one to make it sound cool.

Anyway on a whim I bought it. And then a week later I bought Kafka on the Shore by the same author on another whim purely because there was a black cat on the front cover and I was missing having a cat around. It was this one of Murakami's I read first and he has become a favourite author of mine despite being completely not my kind of author.

Sometimes I feel that something like fate draws me to a book or an author. I never consciously chose to expand my reading limits into abstract Japanese literature. The only other book before then I'd read that was set in Japan was Memoirs of a Geisha which was written by an American author so not really the same thing. Finding Murakami just happened for no reason - twice.

Maybe it was just coincidence I picked it up and coincidence that I felt in the mood for something like that. I had never heard of this author before - not even vaguely. But the moment I picked it up I felt something in my arm - I am not kidding. Occasionally with books I feel something and even if I don't buy it instantly I keep picking it up and looking at it even if it initially does not attract me.

I Capture the Castle for instance - never heard of either book or author and yet for months I picked it up, thought it sounded far too girly and romancey and put it down again and again until I got fed up with myself and bought it. And now look - it is my all time favourite book.

And also - The Stand by Stephen King. Never been interested in King before. Never. He just did not appeal and yet for some reason (actually I confess maybe partly to do with the fact I'd found out that Gary Sinise starred in the mini-series) I bought it and read it and loved it so much I want to read it again. Unfortunately my second experience with King did not turn out to be so good. I gave up on IT after reading a whole one thousand pages. I just couldn't bring myself to read another three hundred odd. I do have faith in all of his others though, which is why I have a stock of King growing in my bookshelf.

So maybe that wasn't quite a whim. There have been other whims like this though - electric shock whims where I picked up a book without having previous knowledge of it and ending up loving it.

Sometimes though, I do just buy a book for the sake of buying - and those I rarely feel good about. Instead of an electric shock, I feel more of a sinking feeling. I just can't go into a bookshop without coming out with something. These are books I end up throwing away at some point, having never read and never really with the intention of reading. So why do I buy them? It's almost an unhealthy compulsion to do so.

Anyway the point of this blog post is really to say that I really want to get Hardboiled Wonderland and The End of the World by Murakami and it will probably be my next purchase. I already have Dance Dance Dance by him that I need to read... oh and Sputnik Sweetheart which I forgot I owned until now, so really acquiring a new book by him is not at all necessary.  But does this stop me? I know that the next time I get to go into that bookshop I will buy that book. Unless something else draws my arm out that is. But I know, I just know that I will pick that book up and buy it even though a part of me will feel bad about it - which in the end taints the pleasure of buying a book. And if it is not there I will feel cheated, lost - perhaps however relieved unless of course, this desperate compulsion draws me into buying a different book.

2 comments:

Good luck with that no more buying books thing, I keep saying the same thing, and yet the used section on Amazon.com keeps calling my name...

27 February 2010 at 00:51  

Yeah hehe... I managed to buy 4 today.

27 February 2010 at 17:48  

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