Thursday, 2 September 2010


“A good book is never exhausted. It goes on whispering to you from the wall. Books perfume and give weight to a room. A bookcase is as good as a view, as the sight of a city or a river. There are dawns and sunsets in books – storms, fogs, zephyrs.  I read about a family whose apartment consists of a series of spaces so strictly planned that they are obliged to give away their books as soon as they’ve read them. I think they have misunderstood the way books work.
Reading a book is only the first step in the relationship. After you’ve finished it, the book enters on its real career. It stands there as a badge, a blackmailer, a monument, a scar. It’s both a flaw in the room, like a crack in the plaster, and a decoration. The contents of someone’s bookcase are part of his history, like an ancestral portrait.” - Anatole Broyard

I love bookshops. The big multinational ones like Borders, the little corner shop ones in local shopping centres, the medium-sized ones, like Angus & Robertson, in the plazas, the specialist ones, like the Foreign language Bookshop, the new ones and the old ones, the market stalls selling books, the carts at the public library selling cast-offs, even! One of my favourite kinds of bookshop is the second-hand dealers where one gets lost in room after room of books and one can find all sorts of treasures. I can happily spend several hours in such shops and pore over the volumes, climb the ladders to get to the shelves (and if it’s the right kind of shop) sit on a comfortable armchair and leaf through the more intriguing tomes. Here is a good website with lots of Victoria Bookshops.

Needless to say, I seldom resist the temptation to buy a book or two (or three, or four, or five…) and it is such a difficult thing to go past a bookshop and not go in. You may ask, why buy the books if you can go to the public library and borrow any kind of book that you desire, at no cost? It’s hard to explain. I want to have my own books at home, I want them in all of my spaces, at work (and even in my car there are books)… It is such a wonderful feeling to go into my bedroom and have favourite books in the two bookcases there. To sit in my study and surround myself with my bookcases that line the three walls and have books in them from floor to ceiling! To go into the music room and be greeted by more books in more bookcases that line another three walls. The living room, the lounge, the upstairs landing, the kitchen, even they, have bookshelves, and yes, the littlest room in the house has books in it too! To be able to turn around and take out of the shelf a favourite book to leaf through at will…

What books do I have? A huge variety of fiction and non-fiction, in English, Greek, French, Italian, Latin. Old and new, antique and first editions, hard and soft cover. Picture books and textbooks. I can randomly list some titles that I can see as I look at the bookcase beside me now, to give you an idea:

•    “Turkish Linguistics” by Slobin and Zimmer
•    “The Lore of the Land” by Westwood and Simpson
•    “Fairy Tales” by the Brothers Grimm
•    “Greek-English Lexicon” by Lidell and Scott
•    “The Farm Book” by Rien Poortvliet
•    “Grammar of Modern Greek” by Triandafyllides
•    “Handbook of Chemistry” by Lande
•    “The Complete Encyclopedia of Illustration” by Heck
•    “Le Général et son Train” by Georges Coulonges
•    “Quintetto Italiano” by Totaro and Zanardi
•    “The Neohellenic Koiné Language” by Babiniotis
•    “The Spanish Gardener” by Cronin
•    “The Golden Treasury” by Palgrave
•    “Sense and Sensibility” by Austen
•    “Aesop’s Fables” by Aesop
•    “Mathematics in the Making” by Hogben
•    “The Story of Writing” by Robinson
•    “Clinical Examination” by Talley and O’Connor
•    “Bacteriological Atlas” by Muir
•    “Synthetic Food” by Pyke
•    “History of Atlantis” by Spence
•    “The Minoans” by Hood
•    “The Drawings of Edgar Degas” by Pecirka
•    “Books of Hours” by Harthan
•    “Culinaria – France” by Konemann
•    “The Explorers” by Flannery
•    “Historia Naturalis” by Pliny the Elder

And so on and so on, you get the idea. There are novels and biographies, short stories and novellas, children’s books and adults’ books, fiction and non-fiction, scientific and artistic books. Books on medicine, science, biology, architecture, geography, history, culinary arts, folklore, linguistics, mythology, gardening, cookbooks, herbalism, alchemy, travel, literature, literary criticism, film, photography, poetry, philosophy, psychology, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, crime, romance, ethnology, ethics, anthropology… A suitable array of topics and genres for a biliophile!

bibliophile |ˈbiblēəˌfīl| noun
A person who collects or has a great love of books.
bibliophilic |ˌbiblēəˈfilik| adjective
bibliophily |ˌbiblēˈäfəlē| noun
ORIGIN early 19th century: From French, from Greek biblion ‘book’ + philos ‘loving.’


  1. My goodness, we have mainly reference book and these have been relegated to the spare bedroom space being at a premium in our little cottage but in an old glass fronted display cabinate near to me are my books on glass and antiques, a small book of silver hallmarks, Queen (the group)a crossword dictionary, a book on native NZ flora and fauna and photography for beginners.
    Novels we borrow from the library or buy from garage sales and once read are disposed of the same way.

  2. cool
    do you have any room for furniture

  3. Are your books arranged in any order?

  4. PM Doolan, yes, I agree my list sounds like a dog's breakfast! LOL! However, my books are organised by subject (non-fiction) and language/author (fiction). Where I was writing my blog is my study and one bookcase is reserved for recent acquisitions, which I pore over until I am ready to allocate them to their rightful place...