My husband drove me down to the shop, which is not very close to where I live…sigh…and I discovered a perfect treasure trove of books. I went there to buy books on sale, but ended up buying quite a lot which were not. Even then, I spent a total of 690 RM (about 180 usd) on 6o books.
And what books: I got hardcovers by Isabelle Allende, Margaret Atwood, Nadine Gordimer, Ali Smith, Sigmund Freud, Italo Calvino, a bunch of books on my research and a few books in Italian besides. All secondhand of course, but in perfectly good condition.
I usually have to struggle with finding good books secondhand, but those who know the bookshop owner would know why a majority of the books have oodles of taste: he was the editor of a major English newspaper in Malaysia for over a decade, besides teaching English Literature/Theatre and so on.
I have to go back again and again, because now I know one place to find rare books in Malaysia, and also because I left behind a lot of books that I would rather have brought home with me. Most of the books I bought will make terrific reading, I’m sure of that.
My biggest deterrent was space, because I live in an apartment, and there is so much I can cram into existing bookshelves and cupboards. I still have to figure out space for the books I’ve bought. But in the meanwhile, they lie strewn on the divan beside my writing desk, and every writing break is spent dipping into one book or the other.