Confessions of a Book Whore: my dirty little habits (guest post)

A friend once told me “Books are overrated”. Needless to say, that friend is no longer a friend, and with a fair amount of wailing, stomping and obscene language I marched them out my door and told them to never come back!

I always launch into how Winnie the Pooh, Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton shaped the book whore in front of you today; how my father dropped me off at the library every Saturday and left me there until they closed – me kicking and struggling to stay. Or how every month, come hell or high water, I received a Blue Peter package with my name emblazoned on it. “What a life”, you may think.  It was.  I love books, so let me tell you how much!

There is nothing more exciting than receiving a book in the mail, something I never grew out of. As soon as you lay your hands on the parcel you know, by instinct, what is waiting for you. It’s that fresh smell of paper that knocks me for a six. This is the biggest perk of being a book blogger. The surprise is in the waiting “What are they sending me this time?” and a theme song ensues: you are living your very own Broadway musical with books to boot.

I hate, and I mean HATE, a cracked spine. If I lend a book to a cracker (a spine cracker) I say my farewells to my book there and then. It’s a harsh truth about me, but I am just unable to relent. I love the flick of grubby pages that are owned by others, or those books that I have inherited, but the books I have forked out my hard-earned money for, and searched through endless shelves for, stay in pretty awesome condition (i.e. no cracked spine).

I judge a book by its cover. As a bookseller, publisher and book blogger, covers are the be all and end all of a book. It’s the first impression you get of the book – that first conversation you have with a book is its cover and the blurb. Granted, the older classics of Henry James and Jane Austen were pretty dull impressions of great stories, but these days, with techniques and professionals at our disposal, why not make that first impression, THE impression?

I alphabetise my bookshelf by author surname. It is a task that even Goliath would groan at, but it’s a nasty habit I picked up during my bookshop days. I shelve and re-shelve until series, author and gift books are exactly in the right place.

I sniff the pages of books. Ok, this one is weird. I open the book, breathe deep, and away I go.  I have always done this and probably always will.

I have a relationship with my books. I take them on coffee dates, select them by how I feel, and send them to comfort friends. I talk to them. I chat about my day, and in turn I get a story that lives – even for a few crazy, hallucinating moments the story is real.

So now you know my dirty little bookish secrets. Tell me yours!

Thanks to Kelly Ansara, Junior Publisher at Pan Macmillan South Africa for sharing her love of books. 

I’m thinking of getting a guest post once a month, particularly to get a bit more bookish value back into my blog, and if you have something book-related you think would fit on here, let me know! In the meantime, happy reading.

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