Friday, 13 January 2017

Books and My Love Affair With the Art of Learning.


My To Be Read pile is slowly but surely getting out of hand yet still I am quite incapable of resisting just one more title to complement the current canon of thought and research. I tell myself that knowledge is never wasted and one day - one day! - all will become clear and visible and relevant to my own paltry attempts to turn a phrase or illustrate a stream of consciousness worthy of lengthy consideration.

My latest fad began with Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and has led to revisiting Virginia Woolf. I'm presently fluttering between A Writer's Diary and A Room of One's Own/ The Voyage Out in an attempt to get to grips with the woman as well as her work.

And I was as happy as the proverbial... until the BBC aired To Walk Invisible. Damn their eyes and the internet for recommendations on further reading. But I won't buy, not yet because as I said I'm reading Woolf plus there's a stack of other authors vying for attention all within my line of sight. I'll be sensible and simply add The Bronte Myth to the wish list.

If you're a book lover too you invariably know where this tale of woe is leading. That this is where the dark forces of obsession begin to take over and before you know where you are you're price-checking on a daily basis knowing there's still one gift voucher left from Christmas literally burning a hole on an already overcrowded bookcase. (Let's not even get into visits to charity shops.) And obviously, The Madwoman in the Attic and The Female Malady would complement this train of thought if we're discussing the history of the female condition versus the need to be creative - which in the end is how this paper chase began.

Finish the ones you've started before accumulating more - stupid! And weren't you going to re-visit the classics beginning with Dickens, Austen, and Hardy? And what about the ones by the Bronte sisters you have never read? And War and Peace? You always said you'd read that. Don't forget to go back to Thackeray, Homer, Shakespeare, Middleton, Johnson, Pepys, Lawrence... Then, of course, there are all the contemporary novels you have stashed upstairs which you keep adding to. What are you, a hoarder? You already have your work cut out for the next few months. Oh, and Poetry! Did I mention poetry? Keep hold of that voucher for when your tastes and interest divert elsewhere. Stop looking at the We Recommend For You, page! Resist. Resist. Resist...

I reached for my Dumbledore wand pressing the point to my temple wishing, not for the first time, that I could simply utter a spell which would enable me to download, or at the very least speed-read-thoroughly, all these wonderful books and more. Books from the past, the present, and the promise of those yet to be written. I took a moment to contemplate the sheer pleasure of inhaling the scent of freshly pressed stationary before clicking Add to basket.

The thought of how many I'll never get to read fills me with unimaginable grief.