I was talking with a fellow Aussie book lover this morning, about the “international best selling” book I’m writing and some of the lessons I learnt in Ghana, as that’s the underlying theme of the book. Yes it’s going to be a bestseller and I’m going to retire with the billions in book sales I’ll make. I’m a realist, or is it an optimist, or perhaps delusional, pick any of those, I’ll go with that.
The topic of possessions and simplicity came up, as that was a big lesson for me. I thought I had it figured out, but I was wrong, and when we came home I took more action on that than I ever had before and culled like a person moving into a caravan.
I’ve got a few e-books, and some audios too, but they’ve never grabbed me in the same way that paper and ink always has. I can’t articulate why, but that’s the only thing in my world I have too many of. I buy so many that I could take a break from buying for probably about three years and not run out of material, but they keep printing more! Even here in Bali I bought three new babies for myself.
See how I call them babies? That’s what they are to me. I wish I could say I read my books and leave them looking loved and dog-eared like when the Velveteen Rabbit became real, but no. Mine look like the day I bought them when I’m finished. Unless it’s a second hand book to begin with. OK maybe it’s time to fess up to be being slightly obsessive compulsive, but after 50 + years I don’t see that changing soon.
Oh there is one exception to my rule here. I got sucked into the Fifty Shades of Grey madness and have to confess I bought the trilogy. However they sucked, big time. Before I finished the first one, I had sold all three on e-bay. I’ve even heard second hand books shops are refusing to accept them now.
Even when I buy them, it can be bordering on torture. I pick them from the back of the shelf where nobody’s hands have dented or marked them and god help me if there’s only one or two to choose from, because they are never good enough. Now I buy a lot on line, I need to leave the destiny of my newborns to the hands of the packers.
When I finish a book that brings me great joy, I love sharing it. Now this comes with its own issues. I love when a person enjoys a book as much as I do, but at the same time I expect them to treat them like the delicate petals they are. Naming rights for first-born child/grandchild should come with the lending process or at the very least, a promise made with blood.
I’ve lent many books to others over the years, which resulted in varying levels of pleasure and disappointment. I lent Bryce McCourtney’s “April Fool’s Day” to someone once. When I eventually got it back, the pictures and some pages had come away from their glue and were hanging out all higgledy-piggledy, and the front cover showed me that my baby had become the telephone message pad holder. I could see numbers, words and names carved all over the previously immaculate cover. I was very upset, and what made matters worse was that the borrower hadn’t even had the chance to read it and didn’t seem to notice how much it had been destroyed.
Another traumatic experience involved me lending a book, the name of which name escapes me, to a colleague. She loved it and returned it with a box of chocolates as her kids had destroyed about a third of the pages. At least she tried, but if it were me, I would have replaced it. I’ve also had many books not returned and have held funerals and let them go. I don’t get it, I’d never do it and it boggles my brain.
So, I’m off to start reading one of my new babies now. I really should be writing, but I’ve done a fair bit today and they’re calling me to come see what they have in store for me.