I fucking LOVE books

Talking about the love of books. With a lot of swearing.

Archive for the category “Bittersweet”

Lust: A detailed examination of my trip to a bookstore.


When I go through the door, it’s like entering a new world. Lots of new worlds. As many worlds as there are books.

I like the silence, the hush, the sense of expectation. People are quiet in bookstores, they stand alone and gaze at books, their minds already half away. SOmetimes they pick up a book and flick through it’s pages with a delicate touch. The book purrs under the notice, catlike. (Books are cats to me. Loved but indifferent to you.)

I wander in bookstores. I drift around tables, touching covers, picking up the odd book and reading the blurb. I spend a few minutes in front of the ‘beautiful books’ section, wishing I could justify another copy of Jane Eyre just for that pen-and-ink cover. I can’t. I drift some more.

I feel at peace in bookstores. A combination of factors – the smell, the colours, the presence of those books, all those billions of words – it has a weight to it, which no matter how unhappy I am makes me feel better. I usually find my way to one of three sections – Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Horror, or Crime. Sometimes I amble through the fiction section, but only when I’m looking for something in particular. When I just want to get a new book, not caring which. I go straight to one of the former three.

This is where I start acting like a Booksexual (Librosexual? Bibliosexual?) in earnest. I touch the books. I stroke them. Lift them to my nose and sniff them. I treat them like a person treats their lover. The only thing I don’t do is stick them inside me because a: don’t want to be arrested b: don’t want to be banned and c: papercuts OW. But I love them. In this moment I am poised on the edge of something magnificent – discovery, friendships, love, all of those things could wait for me in here. I stroke my thumb along the pages.

Once I’ve bought the book, I’m impatient. I get it home, and immediately sit down to immerse myself in its world, know it’s characters, feel it properly. It usually only takes me a few hours to read a standard novel if I have no distractions, and that first read through NEVER has distractions. If the book is good, I get lost in it and finishing it leaves me in that strange, disconnected space where nothing feels right.

If the book is bad, I am angry and disappointed in the same way as if I’d been lied to by a friend. My expected journey is spoiled. My love was misused. My money was spent on something not wothwhile. I am dissatisfied.

I’ve been denied my deserved climax, the emotional connection I want from books. The writer has taken it from me. I am furious.

And that, children, that feeling? That is where vicious reviews come from.

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Old books can be kinda (very) racist/sexist/homophobic


So, how do I  reconcile liking them?

It’s NOT enough to justify it to yourself as an attitude acceptable at the time. I mean, sure it WAS an acceptable attitude at the time (though, to think there weren’t individuals fighting that long before it became a societal push is foolish.) but we, nowadays, know it’s not.

I like to think I’m as unracist as is possible. I mean, I accept I have priveleges others won’t (I’m a white girl born in the UK) but I reckon any racism I perpetrate will be accidental and out of ignorance rather than hate.  I think it’s impossible for me to say I’m not racist at all, and talking about how racist you aren’t always leads people to believe you are… but as things go, I am fairly unprejudiced.

Bear in mind, I’m not talking about a character being prejudiced in some way- that’s just being honest to your character. I’m talking about the BOOK being prejudiced, which is a much trickier thing to realise or analyse. Very simplified:

If the book mainly puts one type of person into villain/hero roles, or only has one type of person in it as a vaulable character, it may be prejudiced

For example where all the bad guys are black and the good guy is white may not mean to be, but probably is prejudiced. There are much better and more in depth discussions online, and I strongly recommend a read through. ANYWAY back to what I was talking about.

How do we deal with being a fan of an author (especially one from a previous time period) while disliking their personal politics? Especially if those personal politics are very prevalent in the books?

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Shakespeare in the garden.


My father taught me to read using Tolkien.

As a start to this blog, that is, I think, the most powerful statement I can make. About the sort of person I am, the sort of parent my father was, and about the sort of expectations that were put on me from a young age.

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