On top of the chest of drawers in my bedroom, I have a pile of all of the books I have lined up to read. I say a pile – what I actually mean in six piles. There is upwards of seventy books sat there just waiting to be read. Some of them are brand new, such as the wonderful books I recieved for my birthday. Some of them have been sat in the ‘to read’ pile for many many years – one day I will read you Lord of the Rings. Some of them are books that I have read, but when trying to find an elusive book on my bookshelf, I have picked up again and popped on the pile to read again. Suffice to say, I am not too far off of being able to comfortably finish my challenge this year without buying another book.
Unfortunately for the strain being exerted on the feet of my chest of drawers, I can’t help myself in buying books. I love it. Whether it is a book I have always been meaning to read, something with a witty title or clever front cover that makes me read the blurb, or a book by a favourite author that I didn’t realise existed, there is something quite special about going out and buying new books, and much like my mum, I have a bit of a tendancy to buy them at a faster rate than I can read them.
All of this could potentially lead to a massive financial problem. Okay, so books are not the most expensive things in the world, and buying them is definitely a cheaper hobby than the maintaining the shoe collections that some of my friends have, but at seven or eight pounds a pop, the costs quickly mount up. Multiply that by my hundred books, and you quickly end up with a months wages – or as a lowly teaching assistant, an annual salary. Luckily, I have found the best, and the cheapest bookshops in Britain. Charity shops!
Often seen as the refuge of dust collecting bores and overtly artsy drama students (both of which I have been at some point), charity shops are an absolute treasure trove of brilliant books at amazing prices. I went out today in search of a copy of the fourth Harry Potter book – goodness knows where my old copy is – and came home with not just a copy of the book I was looking for, but a pile of ten more books. And quite brilliantly, the amount of money that I spent was but 9p less that the cover price of Goblet of Fire. I picked that one up for £2.50 – expensive in charity shop terms, but a pleasing £4.50 less than in Waterstones – and managed to collect the third Potter book, which anyone who read my review will know was one that I had to borrow, for just ten pence! Yes, ten pence!
Add to that a copy of How To Talk To A Widower, the best book I have read so far this year, for just 80p, meaning I now own a copy I can lend out to people, two Robert Rankin books for just 75p each, and a copy of Roald Dahl’s My Uncle Oswald (filthiest book ever – don’t buy it for your kids!) for 10p, plus several other assorted bargins, and I now have my urge for book buying sated for a week or two, and all for under seven quid. When you consider that all of the money I parted with today will also be going to good causes, I feel this was quite a sucessful day.
Incidently, all of this is a massive precursor to me letting you know that this year, all of your Christmas presents will be bought for you from charity shops, the Best Bookshops in Britain!