My self-imposed book buying ban came to a crashing halt in March. It all started with going in to my local bookstore to redeem a gift voucher. I went in with the noblest of intentions, and ended up spending more than the voucher was worth.
Then of course, I went on a trip to celebrate my birthday, which is always a dangerous proposition. I love visiting new bookstores when I’m away from home and almost always manage to spot something I need. The only way to remedy this problem is to merely peek at the books in a detached manner and just admire the store as a physical space. (Not going to the stores is not an option). But I happened to visit the first bookstore in Bangalore with friends who shamelessly encouraged breaking my ban. “Oh, come on! You have to buy that book,” they said. And, well, I did. Along with four others.
The actual birthday was spent in wonderful Fort Kochi, which is a ridiculously tiny corner of Kerala but still manages to support three independent bookstores. Three! I think very highly of a place that takes its books seriously. So of course I had to visit all three stores. And of course I had to buy books from every one. What better souvenir than a book right? Or, as the case turned out to be, six books.
Then it was back to Bangalore where I dropped by a bookstore recommended by a friend. Only to look, you understand. With absolutely no intention of buying anything. But then I stumbled upon something that is notoriously difficult to find in bookstores – a collection of Charles Bukowski’s poetry. His prose is easier to find, but I’ve been hunting for a poetry book, any poetry book by him since 3 years. And there it was! Sitting inconspicuously on a shelf. So I added three more books for good measure, ended up having an hour-long conversation with the delightful owner and walked out with a far emptier wallet, a guilty heart but a spring in my step.
And then, of course, came the books that were very kindly gifted to me.
I know this entire post makes me sound like a hopeless addict. But would an addict be able to stave off the urge to buy books for two whole months?*
*Quite possibly. I’m trying abstinence now.