NMadasamy
The Passion for Books : A confession of a Book Collector
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I love books. I am passionate about books. I couldn’t imagine myself not having any book in my hand at any given time. Doesn't matter if I'm not reading it, just the idea of having a book in my bag is enough for me. "I may need it" I reason myself many times. In the bus or in the commuter train, when I have to sit, at least I have something to keep myself occupied instead of staring at the passenger in front of me. I know there are many out there like me, thus I decide to create this site and call it "A passion for Books"

My ambition right now is to own a second hand book shop I don’t mind sharing the books but I don’t want to sell the books. I want to keep them… and watch as my collection grows.

My father told me that my grand father worked as a book binder. My father himself is a book collector. Whenever he enters the book shop he must buy at least one book. I have inherited this habit from him, together with all the other books he has collected. He asked me one day…”what would you like to inherit from me” I responded “all your books!”
Every since young I’ve been caution by my father to take care of our school books. He will go mad should he find our books torn or damaged or vandalize. It’s a sin to deface the book.

He told me too many times “let us open up a second hand book shop”: A Father and Daughter joint venture. “Fantastic idea Dad” but I’ve shelf the idea for a moment because I don’t know how to begin. Idea will remain as an idea unless one work on it. Suddenly this urge to act on this idea becomes very strong these days, told myself I must be brave to take the first step, otherwise it will never materialize. My father has passed away but I keep on hearing his words many times whenever I'm in my library, as I sat and look around. I must do something about it.... but when? how?

I buy a lot of books and they are all stack up in my library. It’s not about reading them. Definitely I will read them one day... but this is about owning the books. When you enter the book shop, suddenly this particular book caught your attention and you cannot get your mind off it, so you must have it or you can never rest in peace. Even at home, your mind continues to visualize the book you should have bought. You must have it because it is one step to the complete collection you already have even thought you know this completeness is not a total complete. A great collection is vast, they are never complete. This whole senses of incomplete triggers the desire for completeness.

Sometimes you don’t need to read the whole book, you just want to read a part of it… and you’re happy. Always remind myself, one fine day when I really have nothing to do, I might just want to sit and read this book in its entirety.

Why do I collect books? There is no single honest answer. It would be the same I guess if you ask somebody who collect paintings, or furniture or china. I don’t have a specific type of book. In my collections there are variations: from non fiction to fiction, from historical to scientific, mysteries to thrillers, cook books to self help book. How do I decide what books to buy? It depends on several factors the first of which is how much money I am willing to spend. I do have my monthly budgets. I try to keep to my limits thought. Every year my husband will ask"Darling… what would you like to have for your birthday?" After all these years [we have been married for more than 10 yrs now] he still doesn’t know what to get for my birthday. He wants to buy something that I would value. I don’t care much for diamonds or gold, leather bags or shoes. All these important to some but they means nothing for me. So he would eventually say "okay this is the budget for your birthday, you can buy whatever you like". I end up in the book store most often, then place the whole stack of books I just bought in front of him and ask him to sign..."To My beloved wife...." and the date I purchase them.

My favorite Book shop? I have none. Usually I would go to the bigger ones like MPH, TIMES or BORDERS but I will always look for something different. A book shop with a different. I just knew it, when I passed by and suddenly this shop got my attention because the list of books they have inside, like a detective in the mystery movie, I will go in, investigate and thereafter would record it in my daily routine book under the topic: New Discoveries : the name of the book shop, the address and their list of books available. I would bit them farewell once I've done with my investigation with a parting word "I will be back!".

My current favorite book shop in Kuala Lumpur is Silver Fish located in Bangsar, Jalan Telawi.

I remembered once my cousin came in one day and showed me a gold pendent. “My boyfriend gave me for my birthday” as she shove her hand in front of me, hoping I would try to touch or at least show an interest, but I just look at it with disinterest. I said “wait… here okay” and I rush off to my study and brought along two huge books: The complete Anatomy and Physiology and complete dictionary for nurses, both books given to me as a birthday gift from my boyfriend [my husband now]. I was just a trainee at that time and I could not afford to buy them as medical books are really expensive. These books mean more to me than any gold or diamonds. I still have the books he gave me till today. I made him sign and entered the date the book was purchased as always. Today as I sat in my library and went through them, it brings back our courtship days and how these books play an important moment in our life.

Somebody asked me this question “…… how do you decided what you should buy especially when you enter the bookshop and there’s so many selection….Do you go to the ‘latest arrival section…? Or what?”

I do look at the “latest arrival section” but I that area is not my first stop in the bookshop. It all depends on my mood at that particular moment in time when I walk into the book shop. The first thing I would do is to stop and look around me… and which corner attracts me most. You know I sometimes feel, the books on the shelf is like those pets you see in the pet shop. Your heart just melt when you look at those animals wishing you could bring all of them back home... but you have to make a choice, and as those animals look up at you... give you that “look” which says…”take me home! Take me home!”... You hate having to make choices but that is what life is all about. Your hope is that when you come back for the next book shopping spree the book will still be there.

The same experience with books, I know you would think I’m mad but book do talk to you. Book can transport you back in time... name it... future, present or the past. Or into the unknown world… if only you allow yourself. You must feel the book... and merge with it… you can never explain it but only to experience for those who are adventurous.

And so here I am and this is my confession. If you have a confession you want to share with us, please do not hesitate to email to me at nmadasamy@nmadasamy.com and I will post it on your behalf.