Monday, January 18, 2010

You can never have too many

Posted by Simcha 3:36 AM, under | 9 comments

Do you have a favorite book that you reread at least a few times a year, that you like to keep by your bedside at all times and which you force all of your friends to read (for which, of course, they are eventually grateful)?

I have two such books,
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle and A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, and whenever I come across one of these books in a used bookstore I feel compelled to buy it, no matter how many copies I already have at home.

And so when I was in used bookshop a couple of weeks ago and saw
A Year in Provence lying unnoticed in a box of books, I automatically reached for it excitedly, even though I already have two copies at home. I just couldn't help myself. It's like the pleasurable experience of running into your close friend unexpectedly.

But then I began to think 'do I really need another copy of
A Year in Provence? Perhaps I should leave it for another deserving reader to discover and enjoy.' And while I do like to have extra copies of my favorite books to lend out (because sometimes you never get them back) and additional copies to perhaps give as gifts, my funds have been stretched a bit tight lately. Eventually I decided that perhaps I was being a little extravagant and I really don't need to own every copy of A Year in Provence that I come across. In the end I left the book in the bin in which I had found it, hoping that someone else would give it a good home.

But last week I was looking around for
A Walk in the Woods, and I couldn't find it anywhere. After searching through all my bookshelves I came to the conclusion that I must have lent it to someone a while ago, and it had never been returned. And though I asked everyone who I usually lend books to if they might have it, no one had seen it. around to everyone who I usually lend books to, no one admitted to having it. I was beginning to despair, when I noticed a couple of days ago that some books had fallen behind my nightstand, and when I reached behind it, I came up with my beloved A Walk in the Woods, now torn and somewhat moldy. And although I was horrified at what had happened to my book, I was somewhat consoled by the fact that on my last visit to America I had purchased a copy of A Walk in the Woods at library book sale, which I had given to my father. And since my father never got around to reading it - I'm taking it back. So although my current copy of the book is in very poor condition, at least I know that I have a backup copy that I can get a hold of.

And so I learned an important lesson from this experience. You can never own too many copies of your favorite book because you just never know what might happen. And I think I'll be going back to that bookstore tomorrow to see if A Year in Provence is still there. Just in case.

P.S: If you have not read A Walk in the Woods or A Year in Provence, I insist that you do so immediately. Particularly A Walk in the Woods. There is not a single person that I have lent this book to who has not loved it- though I consider A Year in Provence to be just as good.


First of all, YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH COPIES OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOK!!!! Sorry for the all caps, but I just agree that much. I'm glad you learned this lesson!

Second, reading your post, I couldn't help but laugh a little bit and then feel extraordinarily guilty. In my French Friday post last week, I talked about how much I absolutely hated "A Year in Provence."
And now I am reading that it is someone's favorite book.
Go say mean things to me at my post if you feel like it.
I'm feeling like I should have been nicer.

I have both those books -but, alas- I have not read them - yet!

These both sound really good!

I do have favorite books, but with all the books I want to get to and experience I don't get to go back and read them.

Oh well, I mostly like reading new books. At times I have a hard time rereading books. I just have to be in the mood to reread even my favorites.

Love Walk In the Woods. Now I feel like reading it again...

Brizmus: I'm coming over right now to find out how you can possibly not love A Year in Provence!
The same things actually just happened to me. I mentioned on a forum how I consider a particular book to be the worst one I ever read, and the next day someone left a comment here saying how much they loved this very same book.

Stephenie: Well, you really need to put them at the very top of your pile, because they are so worth it. And while not everyone shares my enthusiasm for A Year in Provence (just see comment above) I have not met a single person who read A Walk in the Woods and has not loved it. Just be careful not to read it in public. People will give you strange looks because you'll be laughing so hard.

Melissa: I also rarely reread books, particularly fiction, but I can never get enough of either of these. They are both travel memoirs and both Bryson and Mayle are such skilled authors that reading their books is almost like traveling yourself (though a lot less expensive)

Jim: Go for it! Or even just browse through your favorite parts, like I do

I reread the OZ books growing up and Stephen King's Salem's Lot - not many others because I have a stack of TBR that challenges the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Kim: I've never read the OZ books, what age are they geared to? Maybe I can read them to my son.
The every growing TBR pile is a big problem for me as well. I keep adding to it, so I rarely get to reread any of the books that I remember enjoying.

I listened to A Year In Provence while driving through the mountains in Colorado. I was completely taken by this book. I wanted to drive all the way to Italy, LOL! I haven't read A Walk in the Woods, but based on your recommendation, I will. Thank you!

Amy, I really hope you do read it. It gives me so much pleasure to create new Bill Bryson fans, which really isn't too hard. If you do read A Walk in the Woods, come back and tell me what you thought.

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