Friday 29 April 2011


This week my namesake Sally picked the word book. It made me think of a slang phrase I like to use, "Let's book" - which made me go away and look at where it came from. Interesting!

I grew up in a book house. At work, we often try to guess how many of our pupils are also growing up in book houses, meaning anywhere where books are valued and collected. I hypothesise that they are the ones who don't write in the text books, or tear corners of their exercise books out to write notes, since they have been taught a little more respect for tomes than that.

I currently live in a book house, too. I have a shelf above me as I sit here, full of all my university text books (which, if I'm honest, were not well thumbed during my degree and have been even less used since) and a random selection of History textbooks I keep for when I need to set cover. Donwstairs is another heaving bookcase, which holds them two rows deep. I am getting rid of them, a few at a time. I love having lots of books around and in an ideal world I would have a library, but we don't have the space for that really.

Of course, now I have my Kindle, so the need for actual books is diminished. I have lost count of the number of people who have said, "But it's not like a real book! It doesn't smell like a book!" which is very true. However, it is better than a book for me, because I keep it with me all the time and that means I read more, which makes it a winner in my eyes.

Unfortunately, it does not fulfill the secondary purpose of books - to sit prettily on a shelf, looking inviting. I think growing up in a book house creates an unusual love for this secondary purpose. I would spend hours staring at my parents' bookshelves, and my grandparents' bookshelves, and my aunt and uncle's bookshelves. I was in the library every month, and up in the adult section by the age of 12, having exhausted the paltry 15 shelves of teen literature. Being around a lot of books is calming, and reassuring, and full of promise. And can create familiarity in unfamiliar surroundings - when I went to Cornwall with my friends last month, I was delighted to walk into a bedroom with two walls lined with old testimonials and Methodist texts - it was like being back at my gran's house. I was up late that night re-reading From Witchcraft To Christ.

Good word this week! Pop along to Sally's blog to read the other entries and find out who'll be hosting next week.


La Vie Quotidienne said...

I love books too...they are my oldest and dearest friends.

Biomouse said...

Oh I am very much with you on the whole familiarity and comfort that books bring to any place, it's the first thing I tend to unpack no matter where I go. In fact, my love was completely solidified when I saw Johnny Got His Gun on my husband's bookshelf in his condo.

Unknown said...

I love books too, but I'm having a hard time transitioning between the 'real' book that I can set on the shelf and the books I download on I-pad.... definitely less bulky, but not as pretty on display.

Carola Bartz said...

I love the word "comfort" in relation to books. A house without books is somehow an empty house to me, something essential is missing. You write it so accurate, that feeling of a book house.

Sally said...

Thank you for the lovely comments - it's nice to know this affinity I have with books is not unique to me!

Burhan Ali said...

I'm very much like you when it comes to books except that sadly I never grew up surrounded by them.

It makes me cringe to see people writing in books or (possibly worse) highlighting them. A colleague of mine recently asked to borrow my highlighter while holding what looked suspiciously like one of my books that I had taken in to work. Luckily it was hers, but I still felt like withholding the highlighter.

Also, I too love my Kindle for the same reasons you do.