08 February, 2007

Oh dear oh dear

I seem to have accidentally bought rather a lot of books in the last week.

Yesterday in Waterstone's second hand dept:

Echoes down the corridor, a collection of Arthur Miller's essays.
Under my skin and Walking in the shade, the first two volumes of Doris Lessing's autobiography.
The photo book, a little fat book with photos by lots of different famous photographers and a short description of each one.
Thomas Mann and his family by Marcel Reich-Ranicki

From the library sale (it's iniquitous how many good books they sell off for pennies)

Six days: how the 1967 war shaped the Middle East by Jeremy Bowen. Hardback, and in perfect condition.
Life: a users manual by Georges Perec
Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca

These were all in good condition and were being sold off at ten p each, buy one get one free. Now I don't have any objection to the libraries selling off old crime thrillers or 'family sagas' (those books with a bad watercolour of a working class street on and a pretty woman in the foreground who will be Womanly But Strong throughout the books, coping heroically with the Trials and Tribulations Of Life through the support and love of the Closely Knit Community around her) - these are books which readers read once and then move on to a different book.

But for the libraries to throw away (after all, the sales don't recoup any of the price of the book) history books, poetry books and classics - books which are expensive and will be used repeatedly for a long time - is really terrible. My sister worked in a library in one of the London inner city boroughs, where presumably they didn't have an unlimited budget, and they discarded books if they were 'tatty'. Never mind if they were useful for schoolchildren, students, anyone interested in looking things up; they didn't look as nice as the shiny copies of the Trinny and Susannah TV programme tie-in book or a nice Nigella Lawson cookbook - twenty recipes, each adorned with several large and glossy pictures of the author in quasi-erotic poses. After all, the most important thing in a public library is that the shelves look as attractive as those of your local Waterstones! It makes my blood boil.

From Amazon Germany and Amazon France

Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben by Friedrich Nietzsche
Das Unbehagen in der Kultur by Sigmund Freud
Discours sur l'inégalité by Rousseau, all course books, and two poetry anthologies:
Poèmes à dire: une anthologie de poésie contemporaine francophone and Pièces détachées: une anthologie de la poésie française aujourd'hui.

Ok. That's enough books now for a good long while. I have run out of bookshelves! (see below)

Also, I have just found a blog I started in 2004, did one post on, and then forgot about. What can I use it for, I wonder? Suggestions on a postcard...


Phil Marsden said...

Bet you never read the Perec...

woodscolt said...

Still, I own it now. That's one step closer to reading it...

weierstrass said...

i own it in english and french and haven't managed to read it yet.