Addiction is a charged word. A word certainly not to be used lightly or spread around willy nilly to describe any old problem.
I am an addict. A book addict. And I’m here today to share the very real problem I have physically releasing my grasp from my paperbacks and getting a life. As you know we recently jetted off on holiday to India for three weeks. Three whole weeks limited to merely a rucksack of belongings. I panicked. Not about my clothes or my shoes (who needs more than one pair after all?!) but about a) about the sheer amount of reading time I was sure I’d most certainly have and b) the selection of fiction on offer. I mean, this is only the second most populous country in the world and Delhi only has 11 million people living there…I’m sure there are no places to buy any books should I need them (What a fool.)
Rather than bow to the boyfriend’s very real pleas for me to take my eReader and save him a lot of back ache, my puritanical streak meant that I staunchly refused and took these instead:
On reflection and now I’ve come back down to earth, this pile is gasp-inducing and, through it I’ve come to realise that I treat my library as somewhat of a safety-blanket. With utter reliance that I will never have a moment of my day where I don’t have on-hand entertainment and escapism at my disposal.
I’m not completely bonkers. After all, we were travelling to the Himalaya, away from civilisation and potentially into a severe weather/stuck in your guesthouse situation. Not only did I need good books I needed a wide variety. I mean, good god, imagine if I suddenly acquired a taste for some non-fiction and all I had with me was the opposite. *Shudder*.
Clearly I didn’t bank on the power of illicit Dairy Milk bars and India’s very own ‘Tata Sky’ box, which, after days spent tramping the hills, provided endless hours of rom-coms, Two and a Half Men and Doc Martin episodes to wrestle with. Hurrah. My brain finally received a much-needed break. Here, as a result, is what I actually did read:
Even this picture is cheating somewhat. I obviously didn’t read the Rough Guide cover to cover and both Jane Harris and Philip Pullman were started/finished at the tail ends of the holiday. I therefore, in three weeks, read just two books in their entirety; the newly acquired Delirious Delhi by David Prager and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy….which wasn’t nearly as good as I’d been led to believe.
As well as the physical break from my actual job, it seems clear that I needed to also abscond from Bookland for a good while and indulge in some Anne Hathaway/Owen Wilson nonsense for a change. I have returned with a new lease of life and enthusiasm for those great unread works sat on my bookshelves. This literary relaxation, however, did not extend to what I brought back with me and, due to the raucous book-haggling in Daranganj and the beautiful bookshops in Shimla, this is the pile we returned with:
Although some of these new acquisitions belong to the other half, they didn’t make for easy carrying. I am itching to begin Mulk Raj Anand’s Coolie, after buying Untouchable earlier this year; both heart-rending portrayals of the lower echelons of India’s ruthless caste system. Delirious Delhi, on a separate note, provided a hunk of light relief as I followed David Prager and his wife’s one-year stint in the Indian capital. An account that is both illuminating and entertaining for the intrepid Delhi-lover and a book I have long wanted to pick up after having followed the couple’s excellent blog for many years.
There’s no doubt that these pictures are a little embarrassing but a steep learning curve; don’t take what you can’t carry and don’t rely on your books so much! I will always be an utter bibliophile but, as much as I dislike it, my eReader may eventually feature more on such adventures along with a teeny tiny pile of trusty paperbacks.
I will, however, be taking a huge stack to Scotland with me later this year. The weather might be bad and we will be in the car so….surely that doesn’t count? …
Feeding my addiction/Henry Miller tastes like chicken by poppet with a camera via Flickr