Books Magazine


By Ashleylister @ashleylister
'Don’t tell my wife’, was a phrase I would regularly hear when I ran my antiquarian and second-hand bookshop in Ambleside, Cumbria, as a man bought another book for his collection. I even had one man hiding behind a bookshelf when his wife came in and asked had I seen him.
Or, there was an occasion when a man was wanting to buy a set of natural history books and the woman who was with him hit him across the cheek and ordered him to put them back, as in her mind he had more than enough books already.
There does seem to be an anoraky male tendency to collect every book on a subject or every football programme or every Vinyl LP or every part for the train set and diorama.
I devised my own ‘anorak of the year award’ and the man who won it was someone who came into my shop and asked if I had a particular edition of a book. He was very specific about the only edition of this book that he wanted and didn’t have. This particular edition was printed on thinner paper than the others during the war when paper was scarce.
I went to see if I could find a copy and came back with the only one that I had. ‘How would you know if it is the rare copy?’ I asked. He replied,’ you can only tell by weighing the book to see if it is very slightly lighter than the others’. ‘How can we weigh it’? I asked, ‘I don’t have scales that would weigh that delicately’. ‘Ah’, he said, ‘I do’ and with that he took out a pair of scales from his rucksack and proceeded to measure the book.
Sadly for both of us, it wasn’t the rare copy and he went on his way.
This is not to imply that ladies don’t collect things. There were ladies who bought books for their collections, but in my experience they were in a minority.
As well as over 6000 books I have now for online sale, I also have my own collection of thousands of books and miniature books, which furnish my library/study and which are a constant source of pleasure for me to read, look at, hold and reminisce.
In honor of collectors everywhere, I have written this poem:  
Collections   And there will never be a time when we see our lives laid out on the floor for the scavengers.   We will never weep to see our trophies laid out on newspaper, turned over for the lure of profit   or still heaped in their cartons of transport where nothing is thought to be beautiful that cannot survive its ownership.   The things we liked are like the things we did, kept by us and remembered, but imperfect to the injudicious eye.   The things that are only what they pretend to be for as long as one pays them attention: objects that tease by confusing the appetite.   What has always been said is also true: you can’t take it with you. So let’s establish a useful countdown   like eating the contents of the fridge before departure. A satisfying meal to the condemned prisoners we are.   All these objects that we believe define us: they ache already with our love and their forgottenness.  
Thanks for reading, David Wilkinson Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook


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