Originally published in the Bridport News. I wrote for them, once a week, as a guest columnist.
My mum and I are similar in many ways. However, my buying of books as often as I do is not something we agree on. My bringing home of another book is often met with ‘there are these wonderful things called libraries’. I agree. When I was younger, a trip to the library to pick up new adventures was very exciting. However, as I have grown older, I have come to realise that borrowing a book will never beat the feeling of owning a book. The feel and smell of the crisp pages, the unbroken spine and the newness of a freshly acquired book give me great pleasure. A pleasure matched only by the feeling of growing familiarity as it becomes a part of my reading history; as I crack the spine and bend the covers but know that these are signs of enjoyment and a shared story.
To own a book means that it can be read, or re-read at any point. They become quiet companions sat waiting in their somewhat cramped home on my shelves. Waiting, like old friends, for when I become excited to spend time with them. This is a freedom not available when reading a borrowed book.
Sometimes, however, the luxury of being able to buy a book is not available. It is these instances that make libraries essential, and it is with a heavy heart that I watch as funding and services become constricted.
I speak of books as companions, but they also have a great capacity for sentimental value and this, above all else, is why I buy books. They act as the bookmarks of our lives. Re-reading Roald Dahl or Alice in Wonderland transports me back to bedtimes as a child, Twilight to emptying my purse on the bookshop counter, laughing with friends as we desperately tried to locate that last 50p. They sometimes bookmark significant events, places, at times small moments, sometimes we forget the exact details of a memory, but always treasure the book that transports you back to a moment that feels familiar.