Friday, May 03, 2013
Why Do I buy books?
Do you buy a book because:
1. You want to read it?
Occasionally, but only occasionally. It's more a case of that's seems interesting, I'll buy it and look at the cover and read a couple of pages and put it on the shelf until I come out of hospital without legs and have nothing to do except tread.
2. It is written in theoretically perfect prose.
There is no such thing as theoretically perfect prose. But there is a deep, sensual, almost sexual response to genuinely beautiful prose where the writing IN AND OF ITSELF is a pleasure, like fine lyrics, like a wonderful speech, like poetry. When that beautiful, siren-like whisper calls and it's very close to love-making, a mind-fuck, a touching of souls.
At its best it's like talking to someone over a restaurant table, softly, slowly undoing your heart, and you see in her eyes, the moment she falls in love with you, the exact moment, and she rushes to the bathroom and comes back red-eyed and that evening you don't absolutely DON'T have sex, it would be so wrong.
3. It is Traditionally Published
There's a deep, earthy, glorious moment in picking up a book. When it's a good book, from a great publisher you pick up the history, you feel the quiet heat of Lawrence, Greene, Eliot, Austen, Dickens. They reach out like they want you and they smile and their eyes say, "One of us, brother."
4. It is Self-Published.
Rarely, very, very rarely because there is no aura, no weight of words, no soft smell of Chaucer or Shakespeare's echoes. Worst it smells of money; it's Thatcherite, there is no society, no community, it's jus a load of people trying to make money and it happens to be via the medium of words. It's about TRICKERY, networking, "being seen", tagging and linking. Sadly the words are at the bottom of the pile and usually festering
5. You have heard of it and or the author
Of course, but I measure my sources carefully.
I read reviews in the serious papers.
6. You have not heard of it and or the author.
Often, when I have not heard of an author or heard of the book, or know there is a book, I eat an ice cream
7. The Author has lots of qualifications and or prizes
Yes, this is a VERY good sign. If someone has won a Pulitzer, a Booker, major short-story awards, minor short-story awards, The Nobel Prize, s/he is far more likely they have a SOUL.
And I read trying to feel someone else's soul.
8. Some other reason (s)
I think they look pretty on the bookshelf.
Owning lots of books has often got me laid.
Books and/or concrete are the best defence against nuclear fall out.