About me

I’ve worked in the book trade on and off since my very first job as a temporary, just-until-Christmas, don’t-get-any-ideas dogsbody in a bookshop in my gap year. Predictably, I got hooked. Equally predictably, I stayed for the whole year and then came back for more.

When I moved to London after graduating I simply repeated the pattern. I fought against it, with a brief foray into advertising, but soon found myself back in the world of books. From bookshop to bookshop, from publisher to publisher, events conspired to ensure that I accumulated a vast number of books along the way. I had nothing to do with it (officer); they found me.

I now work as a freelance writer and editor and live in Snowdonia, miles away from the nearest Waterstones but completely and instantly connected to t’internet. In an attempt to break my habit and renew my acquaintance with some old and neglected friends, I have started the Year of Random Reading. I roll the dice, go to the bookshelf that fate decides, roll the dice again for the specific shelf, and then once more to take me to the book I will read.

And I am not allowed to buy anything new.

Or second hand.

Well, except for…

(And I’m committed to books. Those things with paper and pages.)

 

17 thoughts on “About me

  1. recognitionpattern

    What a great idea for a blog! I’ve also put myself on a book buying ban this year… My preferred method of selection is simple alphabetical order. I’ve discovered so many treasures that were just sitting on my shelf all this time. Most of my books are from the two years I lived in London where I spent many, many hours scouring second hand shops. I’m very grateful that my area had a lot of well read donors 🙂 Good luck with continued dice rolling!

    Reply
    1. Kate Post author

      The really alarming thing is that it’s working so well – all these lovely books were sitting there all this time, and I kept buying new ones. I’m going to be extending it into next year after a friend of mine said ‘I wonder how many books you’ve actually got’, and I counted. At the most a year of blogging would cover maybe 50 or so, 100 – and I’ve got thousands.

      Spend your working life in the book trade and they just sort of happen. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it (but no wonder I’m perpetually short of cash)!

      Reply
  2. ramonespinosa

    Enjoyed reading about your travel with books.
    I had a Grandfather who made me read
    6 newspapers a Day & listen to shortwave
    From the BBC every night. Why?
    Every news idem had a different twist World wide. Therefore be informed on opinions
    = the good bad and out right lies..

    Reply
    1. Kate Post author

      Excellent – you should try the exercise too; I keep finding things I’d forgotten I possessed…

      (that probably says more about my book collecting than anything else. Out of hand? Oh yeah…)

      Reply
      1. Sara

        Ha! I definitely know what you mean. My parents, brother and I gathered all our books in 1 house. I do have some at mine, but every time I visit my parents I find / re-find books. It’s wonderful! My parents now live in Italy, I’m in the UK and my brother travels constantly for work. So… in spite of being collectors (and somewhat compulsive book-buyers on the most varied topics), we managed to create a sort of moving library 🙂
        Then two years ago I decided to start keeping track of the books I read and now I list them on my blog. I often skip the ones that are more related to my work, so the list is not extremely long. I never seem to be able to read more than 30 books / year. Although… there are still 4 months left; I might make it this year 😉

      2. Kate Post author

        Go for that record!

        When I started this project I decided to eliminate any boring books that were connected to work, and was horrified at how many there were. Quite a lot went straight out…

      3. Sara

        Gosh, this is so true! The first time I started listing all the book I had read, a good 2/3 were for work. I thought to myself: hmmm, do I have such a sad life? 😉

      4. Kate Post author

        I’m soooo glad it’s not just me. Out with them!

        (I have to say that the charity shop I took exciting tomes like ‘The Fifth Discipline’ to were not exactly excited by the prospect – but someone must want 1990s business books. Mustn’t they?)

      5. Sara

        In Italy you can sell used books to shops like “Il Libraccio”. They were born as bookstores just for textbooks, so each year kids were selling off their textbooks. Now Libraccio bookshops are a bit everywhere and they sell proper, new & used books and new & used textbooks, even at university level. They also still buy books (not the super-pocket editions, though) and textbooks. So… last month I packed a whole suitcase of random stuff no one at home reads anymore or wants to keep. Et voilà… 😉

        I think there might be a similar system in the UK as well, but I don’t know if there’s any such bookshop in my area. I’ll have to investigate…
        Otherwise, I’ll bring some books to the many charity shops in my town. I’m sure at least one will be interested in my tedious textbooks 😛

      6. Kate Post author

        That system is a good one – there must be something like it, surely? Failing that, yup, It’s the charity shops. They put on a brave face when I went in with my exciting business books!

        I got fed up trying to dispose of old academic books in the end and donated them all to my college library, after much growling.

    2. Sara

      Woohoo! Completed the challenge: I’ve read more than 30 books this year. The final count will probably a bit higher, as there are still a few months left 😉
      Just thought of sharing this completely useless info with you. Many thanks for your encouragement! 😀

      Reply
      1. Kate Post author

        WOOO! Result – and I’m feeling similarly successful because I just did a head count and, apart from things I needed for work, I’ve bought the massive total of 3 new books so far. I’m really enjoying re-reading old stuff, so I’m thinking of continuing next year too…

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