On shiny new books

I know I write quite often about old books, and how I have a growing appreciation for old and second-hand books, but I also have a love of new books. They don’t have to be new in the strictest sense of the word – they can still be second-hand – they just have to be new to me.  A new story, even a new cover. I want to read them straight away.

The problem with new books is, there are always other new, but slightly less new books that I neglect by reading the shiniest, brand-newest book sitting next to my bed.

I buy, or borrow, books with the best of intentions, with the upmost of excitement – I long to pick them up immediately and dive right in. But books usually take a couple of days, at least, to be read. By then, a new library book may have been picked up, or I might have found a few more second-hand books, or, stupidly, I might have wandered into a bookstore… and then there is another book that is shiny and new and just waiting to be read instead. So I find the stack siting by my bed growing larger, and some books get buried deeper. And I feel terrible for them, really I do – I don’t mean to make them feel unloved. I will get to them, eventually…

And I always do – I go through a phase when I am like ‘Right! This week I am going to read books that have been waiting for me for a long time!’ and I love them too. Like The Little White Horse, which I just finished, which had been waiting patiently for me for ages. While I was still working at the bookstore, a customer had ordered it in for their granddaughter, and because she wanted a hardback we had ordered a special fancy edition for her, but it had come in slightly damaged (just a little crease in the dust-jacket). The customer didn’t want it looking damaged, and because it was a fancy special edition, we couldn’t return it to the supplier, and we couldn’t sell it damaged, so it went out the back for a staff member to take home. So I took it home, not even realising it was on the list of 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.And now that I have finally read it, I am so glad that customer wouldn’t take it. After reading it, I went ‘Right! This week I am going to read books that have been waiting for me for a while!’ because, you never know, there is no doubt another gem just waiting to be uncovered.

But then, today, the library told me that my books were ready to be collected, so I arrived home with four shiny new books, and I couldn’t help it, I had to read one of them first…



  1. jeffryanwriting

    I like to buy used books over new books, because when I have new books I feel like I have to take care of them and not bend the spine or damage the pages in any way. But I guess that’s a little different than what your’e saying here.

  2. I have a system (that I just know you want to hear about!) – books get placed in a queue in the order in which they arrive….library books in one queue, purchased books (new or secondhand) in another…books must be read in this order despite levels of desire for reading, and library books must be read before bought books owing to the fact that they have a return date….owned books that aren’t immediately grabbing my interest can be replaced (with bookmark) at the back of the queue to await their second chance.

    Admittedly, this system can be fairly disatisfying. I often wonder whether it is the cause of my giving up on certain books too early, because I would rather be reading the next one in the queue. But that’s more a quandry to work on at my next bibliotherapy session really, isn’t it….

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