Sunday, 14 September 2008


I'm afraid another of my obsessions has crept over me. It's something of a family failing, since both sons are afflicted as well – once we get hold of an idea we pursue it doggedly until something else takes over. The internet feeds it, of course, since one can do so much research without ever leaving the comfort of home.

Actually this is something of a sub-obsession, since it falls within the category Books, which is one of my two major lifetime obsessions (the other is folklore, but I dip in and out of that, and anyway it could be considered a subset of Books – or possibly, vice-versa) and it is running parallel to the various other pursuits which currently
exercise my mind; these include reading my way through my 101 Children's Books and trying to extricate myself from an unhappy work situation, both of which require a good deal of research, since they keep sending me off in different directions (this is why I become agitated when studying history: I always need to go just a little further back to find out why a particular situation arose, so that I eventually find myself in a cul-de-sac indulging in wild speculation about the origins of society).

Short-lived obsessions tend to be reasonably manageable, and it's more pleasant to go with the flow than to try to overcome it. They are, however, time-consuming, and that's ultimately what kills them off; the need to spend time on more pressing matters finally trumps the satisfaction of following up the current interest. Where books are concerned it can prove expensive, however – novels at a penny on Amazon Marketplace aren't quite a
s cheap as they seem when you add on the £2.75 postage charge, and OH is inclined to point out that Bookmooch isn't quite the economy I claim (note to self: don't ask him again to post 3 books to the USA in the same week!). Bookmooch also necessitates actually parting with books, and that's very difficult, even though I'm now reduced to piling them on the floor because there is no more room on the shelves. But it's been useful for collecting children's books I no longer own, and has in the past week provided fuel for the current craze.

Today, however, will be spent catching up on everything I've been ignoring of late, garden, baking, housework, preparing for a London week and, oh dear, overdue book reviews; and instead of sitting here metaphorically sharpening my pencils I'd better get on with it.

Oh, and the nature of the current obsession? Margery Allingham – I am determined to read my way through all the Campion novels in order.


  1. I'm definitely in the middle of the same compulsion at the moment. As you say about Christie in your next post, one of the things you notice when you read more than one at a time is how well these authors actually wrote. I'm having trouble getting some of the Allingham novels, but never fret when a compulsion takes over you get there in the end.

  2. I tend toward all-encompassing obsessions myself. Maybe that is one of the general traits of the bibliophile.

  3. TT, I am having such a lovely time reading Mystery Mile. And I am determined that I am going to allow myself to complete the collection - of novels at least - so that I can go back again in the future, so if you need a Campion lending service...I have the first, which I think you were having trouble getting? and quite a few of the others. Not the third yet, but hope to rectify that during the coming London trip.

    Lisa, I was comparing geeky tendencies with my sons and they said "You're just as much of one as we are, it's just in different ways."

  4. GC, I would love to read the first one. If you wouldn't mind then I'll take you up on that and when I send it back I can include the (small) catalogue that went with the Gwen John exhibition for you to read.

  5. TT, I will pop it in the post on my way to the train tomorrow morning (I've got your address).

  6. I love Christie for all her faults; I always enjoy her books.

    With regard to Amazon, you have hit on the bane of bookdealers's lives there - "novels at a penny on Amazon Marketplace aren't quite as cheap as they seem when you add on the £2.75 postage charge". I change a relatively extortionate £1.25 or so for say a Penguin Classic on my own website but then I only charge £1.25 or £1.50 1st class P+P, so sometimes I am cheaper than Amazon 1p copies, almost always so if you ask for 2nd class P+P - but can I sell them? Nope! I think people keep going once they've started the ordering process, even if they are startled by the £2.75.