The other day, Thursday, my day off, the sweetest thing possible in the middle of the week, I got a solid few hours’ (writing) work done in town and decided to reward myself with the one thing I don’t need more of: books. So here’s how I spent the birthday Blackwell’s gift certificate, at long last:
The Other by Ryszard Kapuscinski
The Waves by Virginia Woolf
Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth
The Return of the Solider by Rebecca West
Essays in Love by Alain de Botton
The weight of them in my bicycle basket on the way home afforded me great happiness indeed. I’ve spent some time feeling them, smelling them, turning pages, reading paragraphs at random. This ritual of acquisition seems not ugly, as perhaps it should do in dire times (surely he who has a spare £20 to spend on books shouldn’t do so with quite so much unrestrained glee), but kind, rewarding. I’ve found the one place that my overdeveloped sense of guilt doesn’t stretch to, and it’s nice to spend a few moments every so often here, smelling the books.