The vast majority of my disposable income is swiftly swapped for paperbacks and old classics in my local bookshops. I buy more books than I do pints of milk, most of them secondhand these days (the books not the milk…). That way, I can spend a tenner not on just one crisp and shelf-new paperback, but five books in varying states of disrepair and distance travelled.
However, there is a void, a disconnect between the mindset in the shop and the mindset when I’ve finished whatever I’m reading and need to move onto something else. I always have a healthy supply of books – Auster and Barnes, Dickens and Mann, Arthur and Ambrose, Deakin and Fiennes – just waiting to be read. But there is always nothing to read. Everything and nothing.
Maybe this is an instance of the ‘choice fatigue’ that we pin to streaming culture, i.e. we have so much to choose from online that we lose the ability to make a rational decision.
I wonder if I will ever enter a bookshop content in the knowledge that I have literally nothing left unread at home. I have probably two years-worth of books stacked around my room right now and that’s to say nothing of the countless paperbacks double-stacked on sagging shelves around the house.
Nothing is going to change and frankly, I don’t want it to; haphazardly stacked, swaying towers of books waiting to be read are my chosen decor.
I’m off to the bookshop.