Thursday, 8 January 2009

Bibliophilia 2: A Student's Passion




"When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”
Desiderius Erasmus.

I bought books again yesterday. Which, despite Christmas having come and gone, was still just as heart-stoppingly wonderful as it always is. There is something wonderfully reassuring about a bookshop - not least my particular favourite bookshop, which is three storeys high and filled with enough reading material to make me gibber with delight.
My next semester happens to involve a close reading of Frankenstein. Which, I guess, is reason enough to buy literature associated with it - but not enough reason to quite excuse the massive 'illustrated' version I also bought too.

Let's face it, I like books. And I already have two copies of Frankenstein - one in an anthology of Gothic literature I only bought for the sake of the other stories, the other, boring 'syllabus-required' one with enough sidenotes to distract you from actually reading the book for six months. But books - as I've said already, more than once - have to be an experience. The texture, the feel of it - the quality. My reason for buying it was, in Victor Frankenstein's own words,

"I had selected... it as beautiful. Beautiful. Great God!"

Illustrations always make me quite a sucker for book-buying. Take my Arthur Conan Doyle books, for instance. They have some of the original Strand illustrations on the covers, and although they're not quite the Holmes of my imagination, I love the Edwardian feel to it - as though I'm reading the latest edition back in 1912. And did I mention how many fairytales I've gone through ?(and still get through, I have to admit - I have a profound fascination for folklore and old tales, and the beautiful illustrations of Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac are gorgeousness personified).
My mother came up with a great nickname for this. She called it being a 'book junkie' - going out to buy books is my 'fix' (which is probably more expensive than drugs). I tend to do it when I'm at a loose end, or know I should be doing something else, so perhaps there is something in this. It's a great way of distracting myself from the things I should be doing:
1) Reading the interesting if unappetising criticisms on Frankenstein instead of admiring the illustration of the Monster reading a book.
2) Writing an exhaustive 2000 word essay on King Lear as life in theatre
3) Revising
4) More revising
5) Everyday things like washing, ironing, and the usual student run of chores.
Whilst instead I:
1) Spend ages browsing the 'European History' section looking fruitlessly for the Meideval section
2) Consider teaching myself Norwegian as research - don't ask why.
3) Read
4) Read some more.
5) Watch the whole of North and South until 11 at night.


1 comment:

Mercury Gray said...

Procrastination, I have found, is a wonderful word until time catches up with you and bites you in the butt. I was remarkably productive today, and completely ignored the books I checked out from the library. I didn't, however, finish doing my taxes -- I'm sure that one I'll regret later.