Sunday, 6 July 2014

State of the Book Pile Address




Back in January I pledged to reduce my book pile to 100 books. Six months later it is time to make a report on my efforts to accomplish this resolution. The resolution at the time seemed feasible, for I had but 130 or so books. However the vicissitudes of existence, over which I have no control, have contributed to foil my promises. Highly credible data informs me that my book pile has ballooned to the unprecedented number of 212 books.

 
The main reason, analysts have discovered, was the influence of July’s Lisbon Book Fair. A painstaking inventory reveals that I purchased 65 new books on a total of six trips to the fair. Although the pundits have come out to criticise the necessity of this expenditure, you should see the lovely stacks of books I brought home! The great thing this year is that I went there always after work, at 21:00, when the evenings are cool and the fair is almost empty. Not to mention that at 22:00 there's a special hour called the H Hour, when certain book publishers offer amazing discounts!


My main areas of interest this year were Portuguese History, Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago, Aquilino Ribeiro and Eça de Queiroz. I have 8 new books about Eça, including A. Campos Matos’ monumental biography.


What else did I buy? A bit of Jorge de Sena, Alexandre O’Neill, Miguel Torga, Ana Luísa Amaral, Pepetela, António Lobo Antunes, Camilo Castelo Branco and Luís de Camões. I bought enough books from young (born c. 1970) Portuguese novelists in order to devote a month to contemporary Portuguese literature: Gonçalo M. Tavares; João Tordo; José Luís Peixoto; Afonso Cruz; Pedro Guilherme-Moreira; valter hugo mãe – they’re all as mysterious to you as they are to me. My only foray into foreign literature was Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz.


Currently my book pile has disintegrated and scattered like the tribes in the Bible: I have a modest pile next to my bed; then half a shelf in the living room’s bookcase harbouring a few dozens; another shelf in the adjacent bookcase contains a few more. But the bulk resides horizontally on a sturdy shelf inside a wardrobe, above my jackets and pants. That’s the state of my book pile.


It's just a matter of time until sooner or later all these books will show up, directly or indirectly, in my blog. 


4 comments:

  1. I have around 160 unread at the moment. Likely to remain like that for some time. It's a vicious cycle. Buying many books, reading a few, again buying many more than one can read. Whenever it looks like I'm about to overwhelmed by unread books, my strategy is simple: give away books I haven't even read. Then I buy some again.

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    1. Yes, it's a vice. I keep telling myself to stop buying, but I can't resist.

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  2. What good news! Some of us, you know, just view this as at least 212 more forthcoming terrific posts.

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    1. Ah, thanks, Scott. But not all books are material for my post; don't worry, though, I'm not in want of writing material. Time is my main enemy.

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