on the topic of buying books

The subject of book buying came up over dinner a few weeks ago with friends Andie and Darcy. Andie and I studied at college together and we met Darcy at a publishing company we worked for a few years back. We are all avid readers so it's not a strange topic to come up over dinner. I think that they were a little incredulous, though, to learn how many books we buy on average per week. Before going on, I'll ask you this. How many books do you buy a week or in a month?

Having worked in a bookstore for years I know how important it is to buy books. How important it is for the bookstore's livelihood, and how important it is for my psyche. I love the knowledge that I have new worlds to explore on our shelves. I love being surrounded by them, and being able to share our library with friends.

Buying books for us means supporting our local bookstore. It means browsing the tables for new releases for 30 minutes, catching up with the booksellers, sharing our finds and then deciding what we want to bring into our library and what we want to buy as gifts. We dread the day there will be no brick and mortar bookstores to linger in on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

So we buy books. On an average, we buy around 3-5 books a week. Before Stella I used to be able to read through that many in a week. But, things change when you have a baby.

Yesterday Andie brought my attention to this wonderful quote which I have to share:
"He should live with more books than he reads, with a penumbra of unread pages, of which he knows the general character and content, fluttering round him. This is the purpose of libraries.... It is also the purpose of good bookshops, both new and secondhand, of which there are still some, and would that there were more. A bookshop is not like a railway booking-office which one approaches knowing what one wants. One should enter it vaguely, almost in a dream, and allow what is there freely to attract and influence the eye.

"To walk the rounds of the bookshops, dipping in as curiosity dictates, should be an afternoon's entertainment. Feel no shyness or compunction in taking it. Bookshops exist to provide it; and the booksellers welcome it, knowing how it will end."

--Economist John Maynard Keynes, as quoted in a Canberra Times piece headlined "Bookshops about more than just purchasing.
With that, I'll share our book purchases so far this week:
  1. Mr Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons, called "[A] rare treat; a debut novel that is pretty much flawless" by Alyson Rudd of the Times (London).
  2. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. This got two thumbs up from John Evans, co-owner of Diesel, and scored a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "A smashing debut novel...remarkable for its strong narrative, original characters and a voice influenced by Fitzgerald and Capote, but clearly true to itself."
  3. The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. Besides the fact that this was recommended by my bookseller friend, Grant, this buy was clearly influenced by the fact that I am totally and completely addicted to True Blood (hello, Eric Northman!).
  4. D&AD, The Copy Book. A gift.
What books are on your nightstand?


Christina said...

I've always admired how many books you buy and read in a month.

Andie East said...

But Christina! How many books do you buy a year?

I think I average 20 to 30 maybe. I don't know if I could afford 3-5 books a week. I'd have to stop going to to concerts and out to dinner.

Also, Hannah does tempt me with her massive and enchanting library. LOVING The Lost City of Z.

Hannah said...

Well, Teenie, I'm sadly not reading as many books these days. How about you? Read anything recently that you loved?

And Andie, so glad you're loving The Lost City of Z. I just brought it up yesterday in a conversation about parasites. I mentioned the part in the book where the author talks about the maggots that bred in the elbow and knee joints of the explorers and how they could squeeze them out and feel them crunching around when they moved their arms and legs. Totally gross, but, wow! Have you gotten to that part in the book yet?


SHAYNA said...

shoot. i want to borrow your copy back when andie is done. still haven't finished it.

on my nightstand:
- visit from the goon squad
- just kids
- my life as an experiment (stolen from my brother, quick read)

but wow has my reading pace slowed. i'm back to reading the new yorker as it's good "pumping material" but i still can't keep up.

we're moving e into her own room next week and it's bittersweet. i'll be sad to not have her so close but excited to reclaim pre-sleep reading time!

rdEKQa10 said...

love this hannah!