The Strange Case of Recurring Books

| Posted in Books |


These days, I am recovering from a long drought of reading. I seem to walk into bookshops and spend a lot of time leafing through the ones that catch my fancy, the ones recommended by friends, critics and of course, web reviews.

After spending 20 to 30 minutes, I seem to be drawn towards the stationery section. There, I usually pick up a beautiful, luxuriously built blank notebook. The kind that would have lavish binding, gilded pages and superb paper quality.

What’s going on?

Before this blank book phase, I used be drawn to buying the same titles again and again. This is a curious phenonmenon. Being slightly disturbed by this, I decided to investigate this strange case of recurring books. I found that there were many other friends in whose bookshelves there lived these kind of twin books. They appeared in slightly different covers, older versions, different formats and typography. These books were different for different people.  The recurring book phenomenon is puzzling. It is like a peculiar case of deja vu. Something is wrong with the Matrix!

Like all book lovers, I end up amassing quite a bit of them and procrastinate endlessly on giving them up to make space for new and more interesting ones. When faced with the inevitable option of having to dispose off books, I still seem to cling to the twin books preferring to sacrifice less dearer books.

In case you are wondering, my two main recurring books are Animal Farm and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Funnily, when I lend it to someone, I insist on getting it back as soon as possible. Let it be known for the sake of these recurring twin, triplet and sometimes (OMG!) quintuplet books, a lot of shelf space and books have been sacrificed!


Recurring Books!

Do you have multiple copies of the same books?

What is your excuse/explanation?


Comments (8)

The only books which I have multiple copies are because I bought them accidental not know my sister had them. One is Author Miller’s “All my sons” another one is “The Man-Eater of Malgudi” by R.K Narayan

Ah! That does not count as a recurring book. The two copies should be bought by you.

I am sure some of the titles are common in most of our bookshelves. Especially, the tech ones.

I think it is a little strange to go out and deliberately buy what you know you already have.

I don’t know if I can be considered as one who has the same affliction, but I must confess to having indulged in the despicable act of buying the same book multiple times.

The reason I said I am not sure of the affliction is because, when I buy it the second third or fourth time its primarily because I do not have them handy at that point in time, and I have this unendurable urge to read them.

The top ones that fall under this category are Godaan (Premchand), Hundred Years of Solitude and Sidhartha.

Ha! Gopal,

“…the unendurable urge to read them” is a definite symptom and One Hundred Years of Solitude definitely brings on this urge.

Still to read Love in the Time of Cholera. Have you?

I confess to having bought Catch-22(Joseph Heller) and the Second Foundation three times. It’s the same ‘unendurable urge to read them’ that’s driven me to buy them at various times. :)

Haven’t bought much books of late. I keep wondering why.

Hey Jai,

Catch -22 with Yossarian and its unforgettable mix of characters is an awesome book. I had two copies. One vanished mysteriously.I think it must have managed to escape the confines of my book shelf.

Yossarian: “That’s some catch, that Catch-22”
Doc Daneeka: “It’s the best there is”

Yes sir, I have had the good fortune of reading “Love in the Time of Cholera”. It is just an amazing book.

Shockingly someone tried to make a movie out of this a couple of years back (sacrilege!!!!). Needless to say it was a mistake (by this I am actually embarrassing the concept of understatement!!!)

Having said that you might also want to read “The Chronicle of a Death Foretold”.

LOL! Gopal, I know what you mean. It would take a magical effort to capture the essence of these books.
Some would say it is impossible.

Thanks for the book suggestions.

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