Sunday Salon

Bang goes the book ban

sundaysalon At the start of the year I pledged to cut down on buying new books because — like so many other avid readers — I already had far too many unread titles hanging around the house. According to my calculations I had 135 physical books yet to be read (I ran out of fingers and toes so there may have been a margin of error in that figure) plus an untallied number of e-books.

I’ve been good for most of the year with only one or two purchases of books needed for the local book club meeting. But all those good intentions have now gone by the wayside since August saw somewhat of an explosion in the purchasing department.

It was the perfect convergence of three factors…..

Reason Excuse #1: The Booker long list had been announced at the end of July and I wanted to read at least a few of the 13 titles before the winner is announced in October. I did try getting them from the library but had only marginal success so to make sure I had at least something to read until my requests came through, I ended up buying e-versions of Niall Williams’ History of the Rain and Karen Joy Fowler’s We are All Completely Beside Ourselves.

Empress Dowager Cixi.  Source: Wikipedia commons licence.
Empress Dowager Cixi.
Source: Wikipedia commons licence.

Reason #2: I had to hang around for a few hours in the city center one day and of course, gravitated to the bookshop and a number of books just leapt into my arms. I became the owner of:

Reason #3: Speaking of which, I am about to embark on an Open University module in early October and needed to buy a few of the set text books. I’m doing this purely as a way of keeping the brain cells ticking over but it still involves a lot of reading and some essay writing.  It’s a multi disciplinary course in which we look at philosophy music of Shostakovitch and the art of Cezanne. Some of those hold more interest than others for me (I have very little ear for music and Shostakovitch is certainly not a composer I appreciate) but I’m looking forward to the art sections and the history. And of course there are some literature components which is why I’ve bought:

  • Two plays: Christopher Marlowe’s Faustus and Seamus Heaney’s The Burial at Thebes
  • a book of poetry (The Faber Book of Beasts by Paul Muldoon) and
  • A World of Difference: an Anthology of Short Stories from Five Continents edited by Lynda Prescott. This last one sounds a treat since it includes work by leading writers such as V S Naipul, Zadie Smith and Peter Carey. Their contributions are all on the theme of difference.

Even with all these purchases I’ve still got a TBR list of 134 which is smaller (fractionally) than when I started the year which is progress of a sort. Now I’ve got the book buying bug out of my system I should be able hold on for another three months without any more purchases.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

10 thoughts on “Bang goes the book ban

  • Thanks for giving us the Booker Long List. You surely have a busy schedule. Hope you enjoy all….

  • Ha ha, yes I’m just the same. I start every year with the best of intentions of reading the TBR but it’s been hovering around 130 books since I first counted up four years, so clearly I am buying at the same rate I’m reading, and that would be fine if I hadn’t let that gigantic surplus happen in the first place!

    But you know what? I don’t feel all that guilty because I love books and by buying them I’m supporting bookshops/authors/publishers/etc and I’m happy about that.

    • I’m only pretending to be guilty … secretly I love having all those options to read since it means I never have to struggle because I have nothing to read..

  • I say those are all good excuses, I mean reasons, for breaking your pledge. And after all, you did say “cut down” not “stop buying” so I think you’re good 🙂

  • I love to read how everyone else justifies their book purchases – Books are always jumping into my arms too!

    • Funny how that happens to so many people in so many different parts of the world

  • You may be waiting a very long time to find that out since I do have a habit of buying books and then not reading them for months or even years

  • All sound like good reasons to me! I could very easily buy a similar list. In fact next time I see a copy I’m definitely buying The Fortune of the Rougons – I look forward to seeing what you make of it!

  • If you haven’t yet reached the stage where your children are going barefoot and you are feeding the family on grass, I honestly don’t think you need to feel too guilty 🙂

    • i don’t have any children so can’t even claim that as a consideration in fact……I’m not really feeling all that guilty except if I buy them and then don’t read them….


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