Sunday, 5 December 2010

Other people who purchased this also purchased ...

This time last year I was going a bit banonkas in the Border's Closing Down Sale. Six new bookcases later, I decided not to buy any more books until I'd read all the books I had already.

Cue hollow laughter.

So now, with Christmas looming, what do all the newspapers publish?

Great, long, four-page spreads of the 'Best Books of 2010'. Now I realise there is 'you-scratch-my-back' collusion between authors, and some publishers' puffery, but still ... there are many interesting books that I really didn't know I was interested in until I read about them in the Books of the Year features. For example, the history of the finger. If you'd asked me which body part I'd most like to read about in an historical treatise, the finger is the last thing I'd have pointed at.

But now it is my finger that is doing the most damage. Time was when I'd read all these Books of the Year lists, think 'Ooh, I'd like to read that', take myself off to a bookshop some days later and stand there stupidly blank thinking 'What was the name of that book I wanted to buy?' (Please note, for the sake of keeping Broken Biro quiet, I do the same stupid, blank stare in libraries.) Now I think 'Ooh, I'd like to read that' and click, click, click I've bought it on Amazon. And it doesn't help that Amazon then helpfully suggests a whole shelf of other books I might enjoy.

Look, I had no no little trouble smuggling vast quantities of books into the house after the buying spree in Borders (at one point I took to tucking them into my socks) but when the postie leaves great big day-glo labels that proclaim 'YOUR HUGE PARCEL OF BOOKS TOO NUMEROUS TO LIST HERE ARE HIDDEN BEHIND YOUR GREEN BIN. OW! MY BACK HURTS. DOUBTLESS I'LL BE CRIPPLED FOR LIFE. THAT'S THE SEVENTEENTH PARCEL THIS WEEK' then it's not so easy to explain away.

Which books have made it onto your Christmas list? I'm asking because if they match any of mine, I can pretend I've bought them for you. Anyone pining  for the recent unexpurgated Mark Twain autobiography? (she asks hopefully).


  1. I heard that! I daren't tell you how many library books I currently have out (well, I keep spotting good ones people are bringing back!!). And have you succumbed to The Book People yet? They practically give away whole sets of books.
    p.s. We don't stock A History of the Finger that I've noticed but we do have a Geography of the Inner Thigh - it's on the top shelf!

  2. Tinker - too, too kind. How's the antique trade these days?

    Bébé - I got The Penguin Book of Irish Verse and all six books (in hardback) on the Booker Prize shortlist from The Book People, saving myself about £80 - which I then spent at Amazon, Abe Books and a small local independent bookshop (she adds hurriedly)