Wednesday, February 16, 2011

collecting books

The other day, I was watching TV with my flatmate and, as I am wont to do, started scoffing at the news stories or ads. The Rugby World Cup is coming up this year in New Zealand (sigh), and tickets are worth hundreds of dollars. I laughed in a derogatory way. "Ha! What a waste of money."

My flatmate sighed. "Yes, it is. I went through a phase of collecting perfumes, that was a huge waste of money. What do you collect?"

My first instinct was to say that I don't collect anything, a little stab of pride going through me at my sensible, planet-friendly, non-wasteful habits.

But then I realised that I collect books. Even if I often buy secondhand books, the amount of money that has gone into the stack of books lining a quarter of one of my bedroom walls must be staggering, if I actually thought about calculating it. As I think about the possibility of having to move to a different town if I get a job outside Christchurch, I'm not all that thrilled about the prospect of having to shift so many books, either.

I'm not saying that books are pointless, or that authors shouldn't be supported. I'm just starting to wonder if I have gone a little overboard. And to wonder if I'm a little hypocritical to scoff at people who have spent hundreds of dollars to see something they love in action.

I've had a little idea. I'm not sure if I can bear to go through with it. We'll have to see about that. Here is the idea, anyway:

What if I ruthlessly culled my books? Kept only about twenty or thirty of my most favourite books or the books that are most difficult to find or the books I managed to get an author to sign? Then what if I relied on libraries to supply me with the rest of them when I felt like reading them?

I could then have a booksale. Offer all my books up to my friends. Sell off every single book and give away those that don't sell, then give all the proceeds to a worthy charity. Possibly I could find other people who want to do the same thing and we could all sell our books together, for charity.

Again, I feel so sad at the thought of doing this that I'm not sure if it will happen. I will definitely be thinking about it though, and, if I can't bring myself to do it, I really should stop making fun of other people who spend money on things they enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment