Book reading is a one night stand, not a lifelong commitment

28 December 2022

American author Fran Lebowitz says she owns twelve-thousand books. Twelve-thousand. With so many books in circulation, I couldn’t ever foresee the possibility of being able to re-read any book I’ve already read. Even the absolute favourites.

I want to finish one title and go straight to the next one, as there are more queued up behind that on my to-be-read list. But for many, it seems to be a case of read and retain, despite there being little chance of an opportunity to ever re-read.

Book lovers are known to practice semi-hoardish and anthropomorphic tendencies. They keep too many books for too long, despite dust, dirt, mold, cracked spines, torn dust jackets, warped pages, coffee stains and the daunting reality that most will never be reread. Age rarely enriches a book.

I dare say possessing a book collection would convey the impression I am well read and cultured, and even a small home library would be a conversation starter among guests, were they to site said books. But… nah. On the flip side, I can readily answer the question: what was the last novel you read. That’ll do me.