I love books as much for their sensual qualities as for what lies within. The heft and look of a real book, its smell, cover design, and typeface are all part of the pleasure of reading. This sensuality gets kicked up to 11 because I almost always buy them second-hand. So every book has its own secret history, which you can read from the dog-eared pages, scribbled annotations, stains on the cover, and the variety of things people use as bookmarks – everything from postcards to bus tickets. I love best of all the apocryphal notes and lists some readers leave behind to tantalise the curiosity of new readers. You will gather from the above that I’m extremely tolerant of the condition a book is in. The only thing I cannot tolerate is sticky gunk – that’s just bad manners.
So I decided to compile a visual catalogue of my library, warts and all, along with a few words about each book and what it means to me. Next post up is the first candidate.