I've been having an email chat with a friend in Germany. She loves her books and is picking out some interesting reading for her children. I reacted to this by making a mental list of great books I've read recently and another list of books to read. As soon as the current read is finished I'm going to motor through another excellent Kinky Friedman story and then, hopefully, see how good the latest William Gibson is. I've had a clear out recently so the local charity shops are happy and I've made space for any possible Christmas presents.

Anyway. For pretty much my whole life I've lived in spaces with lots of books around me. I assumed for a while that the world divided into those of us who liked having a lot of books around us and those who don't (people who don't read or who do but get their fix from the library). I made no judgments about either camp and all was groovy.

In the last few years though I've noticed some folks getting quite irate even at the concept that someone might enjoy having lots of books in their house. After a few incidents of hearing "... but you if you've read them why would you want to keep them" I even started doubting my preferences. Then once, I found myself about to apologise for the amount I owned and luckily, just as the words were about to escape me, I caught myself and told the person to get a life and understand that quite a few of us are like this. Only I didn't put it quite so politely.

So, if you've only got a few books on your shelves - good for you. If you like the look of knick-knacks and photographs of ugly children rather than the spines of inspiring works - good for you too. I'd rather have books, and plenty of them.


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