To own a certain book – one you had chosen yourself – was to define yourself.
Author Julian Barnes reflects on a life of bibliomania, collecting books, winning books, completing sets and gathering as much by a single author as possible.
For Mycroft this seems especially amusing since we share his habits and obsessions.
Especially that of the completist; scrounging through shelves and drawers, disassembling double-stacked volumes, in search of editions that differ perhaps only by an author’s preface or the inclusion of a new essay, or rare pamphlets, poetry in old journals, things that the author themselves may have forgotten or wished forgotten.
And, of course, time (and reading) changes a person so that your old obsessions might not withstand the scrutiny of advancing years. So, what to do with these former treasures on the shelves? Perhaps, we can follow the example set in the film, High Fidelity (adapted from the Nick Hornby novel), in which the protagonist spends an evening reorganising his record collection autobiographically.
Or start a bookstore.