Katja Willemsen
November 2012
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Quick! Hide behind your Kindle...
16 November 2012

A socialite friend once gave me a tour of her brand new home. I enviously wandered along her floor-to-ceiling library and picked out a battered paperback: Walk with a White Bushmen by Laurens van der Post

I love that old codger's writing, and the smell of the book’s musty pages thrilled me. It was clearly a much-loved copy. I asked my hostess how often she had read it. She gave a careless shrug and replied she hadn’t read it at all. In fact, she hadn’t read any of the books in the room. The entire library had been delivered by a secondhand shop. And someone else had unpacked the 53 boxes.

Isn't filling a home with books you’ve never read, a bit like having photo albums of a life you’ve never led?


Books tell stories other than their own...


Take my Robert Ludlum and Marian Keynes books. Not writers you would normally group together? Wrong. When I was a workaholic career-addict, Jason Bourne was my escape from the rat race. And Keynes’ frothy stories were like full body massages for my over-taxed brain. Pure bliss. To this day, those books remind me of that crazy burned-out time.


No prizes for what the Dark Night of the Soul-type books reveal about me. And if you just gave a knowing smile, then you've also searched their pages for answers to life's chaos.


Every city I’ve ever visited sits on my shelf in the form of a book. How my travel tastes have changed! Girls’ Shoe Guide to Manhattan languishes on a lost shelf, and Hiking in the Pyrenees has stolen its place.


Moral of the story? If you don’t want your books to tell your story, quick, get a Kindle.