Monday, 25 July 2016

Are 'real' books your escape hatch? (Or are your bookshelves blocking your exit?)

Hi you. 

When was the last time you bought a book? Or, to be more precise, when was the last time you bought a real live book made of paper? You know the kind I mean: 
  • they're the ones you can easily flip through to find that amazing paragraph to bore entertain someone with; 
  • they're the ones you can easily bookmark using - hey, here's a novel idea - an actual bookmark ... or else anything else you have on hand. [Just tell me you're not a good-for-nothing corner-folder!!]
  • and they're the ones that come wrapped in exciting cover designs, and that never run low on power, and don't break when dropped from the bed when you fall asleep mid-sente....
Yeah. Those kind of books. Because, if you've bought one of those gems during 2016 then you're in part responsible for the rise in traditional book sales.

Yesterday, after lunch at my parents' my Dad read out a story from the newspaper detailing how  sales of traditional books rose during the first half of this year while ebook sales have seen their first drop since statistics on them started being kept.

"That's because of you!" Dad said to me. Although to be honest - as I mentioned on National Libraries Day- as, while I do read a lot, the majority of my fodder comes courtesy of a library or three. 

The majority. But not all. And Dad might have a point because I've already bought more books this year than in any recent times. So much so that a few months ago I moved a little vintage bookshelf on to our landing to hold part of my burgeoning personal library:
In recent weeks I've been tempted to start selling off some titles, maybe through Ebay, just to keep things flowing around here; to prevent some books just lodging, on the same spot, forever. Read once, never to be re-read; simply taking up space on my petite little shelf where space is at a premium.

But if I ever begin to feel like maybe I have too many books on there, at least I can say that at least my book collection hasn't quite blocked my doorway ... not like in this secondhand bookshop I recently visited: 
And it's not as if I've had to cut my door down its length and re-hinge it so you can both still use the door while keeping all of the books!
It reminds me of how Stephen King explains that he always has a book with him, another world to visit at the opening of a page, as he never knows when he'll need 'an escape hatch'.

I guess we all just need to make sure that, amid this 'real' book renaissance, all our metaphorical escape hatches don't block our actual exit!  


To continue the theme ...
  • What was the last book you bought? Anything to recommend?
  • Where do you keep your books? Shelves? Piles? In front of doors that only Hobbits can squeeze through? 
Feel free to tag me in photos of your latest read or your shelves via social media.

*Can't be bothered going through the torment of leaving me a comment while on your phone? I don't blame you. Just say 'Hi' through a less cumbersome app instead:


  1. I was just talking about this with my ebooks will never replace the real book experience for us. I'm so glad real papery books are holding their own, and that I'm not the only one that appreciates them. =) I've been making good use of my library as well, so I think the last book I actually paid money for was something boring (but useful) on home buying! From the library I've recently been enjoying "My Life in France" by Julia Child. A sweet, simple biography about her love of France and how she discovered cooking. =)

  2. I, too, almost always have a book with me. Definitely if I'm getting in my own car - just in case I end up in a traffic jam or decide to treat myself to a meal out. The most recent purchase which I've actually read is a reprint of two Rex Stout Nero Wolfe books from the 1930s. I love Nero Wolfe and am gradually readying my way through all 40-ish of them.

  3. What a great photo of the door! Well spotted! I am afraid my books are neatly shelved, never ever in piles. And I like a bit of space on the shelf - if books are tightly packed, I feel a bit stuffed-full myself and know it's time to get rid of some. The last book I bought was last week and non-fiction: The Body Keeps The Score.

  4. I'm a book buyer ... Cookery books, interiors and of course fiction. Nothing can replace that feeling of getting a new book and the smell of it.mi am too a huge fan of the library, which reminds me. I need to return a cook book

  5. I've not bought fiction for a long time (working in a small library where I can ask the manager to buy titles contributes to this). Also, right now most of my books are in cartons in a shipping container waiting for us to build our 'forever home'. However I have kept out all my recipe books (so practical, sorry) and the last book I bought was #4 in the Revive Cafe Cookbook series (vegetarian/vegan meals that are delicious and tasty). I don't think I can keep up a 'no book buying except cookery or other very immediately practical book' rule for the entire time it's likely to take us to build though!

  6. the last book was from a charity bookshelf in Jo's cafe on the main road from Monmouth to Ross-on-Wye. I bought a couple but I have read them and bookcrossed them to my eldest granddaughter - they were the last two in the Rebecca Tope Cotswold Mysteries.
    I tend to bookcross (take a look at any of those books that I have read and I know I won't read them again. It is incredibly liberating to register a book at bookcrossing and then "release" it somewhere then to wait for the journal entry from the person that catches it. I also register any books I give to the National Trust because they can then sell them and make some extra money for their coffers

  7. I count myself part of that trend too - not that I had ever gotten much into e-books, but this year has seen an uptick in my purchasing of real books. I continue to be a diligent borrower of audiobooks from my public library and often switch off between reading and listening. I have not found Ebay to be a particularly good place to list books (prices received not worth the time and effort), or even their sister site - I think I may try Ladkyis' suggestion of bookcrossing, as the last time we organized our bookshelves (not for the last time I am sure) I found a couple of duplicates. We are very, very slow here to trim our shelves of books unless they were absolute dogs.

  8. Well now, you can probably guess what I'm going to say. I buy books. All the time. And there is no other pleasure quite like it. I very very rarely get rid of any and I just stack them up all over the house. In the last week alone I bought "Yokes", which is a knitting book published in Edinburgh and bought there cos I couldn't find it at home, "Glencoe" which is a Scottish history book, "Burke and Hare" (new edition of the Owen Dudley Edwards classic, history book), "Outlander" for fun, cos I love the series (don't often do this, though)...yes, I have a theme going at the minute...

    I nearly took a picture of my little white bookcase for you. It has "Old Friend From Far Away" propped up at the front of the row, and "Knitting For Tommies" (which is practically Great War fashion) on its side on the shelf above..

  9. I have stopped buying books (at full price) because of the cost. I use our library all the time and don't mind one bit paying 60p to reserve a copy. I did buy a book of short stories recently called "Reader, I married Him" but that was because Jane Eyre is one of my all-time faves and it was Bromte's 200 year anniversary this year. I reckoned the £5 Oxfam wanted for it was money well-spent. I have been known to love a book so much (that I borrowed from the library)I then want to have my own copy and then buy one. I need to correct myself here, I do buy Art and Photography books, I can't resist them!

  10. Sorry that obviously should read Bronte!!

  11. I buy real books. I buy Kindle books. I use my local library - both mine and my husbands ticked are maxxed out - and he doesn't read :)

  12. Do you know what? I've been the same this year- I can't remember a year I've bought so many in one short space of time. AND I'm making my library buy them too! Not MAKE them, just request and they happen to do it. I had a £50 splurge last month. I'm still in shock - that's never ever happened. And three of them were French! I can't speak French! But the illustrations were divine! I'm considering taking a course to learn to at least READ French.

  13. I've now got a book to teach me to read French thanks to a lovely friend. I foresee more French books in my future.

  14. I've got to admit to having jumped on the e-book bandwagon early and haven't looked back since then. I read so much more now than I did before but then the back light at night helps a lot and so does being able to enlarge the print. lol I still love real books but prefer reading on my Kindle. :)

  15. I said no to buying books at the start of the year, because all our bookshelves are full ... didn't work. We are now double-stacked, which I hate, and I am beginning to visit Oxfam books again, only as a donor this time!


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