Aspiring television personalities interviewed at home used to be quite careful on their choice of background for the camera. Most opted for a bookcase, as lots of books signified a cultured, intelligent and informed person rather than someone who owned a lot of books. Of course it fell out of favour when television audiences twigged that being cultured, intelligent and informed involved more than spending your Christmas Book Tokens on bulky shelf fillers.
Books are on my mind because I have been throwing some out or, more accurately, recycling them. I will never have enough books to fill a television backdrop bookcase because I get rid of them once they have past their usefulness. However, what is disconcerting is the number of books I have owned on the subjects of either making me a better and successful person or radically increasing my personal wealth. These are the first to go because, quite frankly, they have failed miserably – and I genuinely hope that whoever gets them after me has more success with them than I did.
Don’t get me wrong, I love books and the internet will never replace them; it’s still a lot quicker to pick up a book and open it at your bookmark than it is to boot up the PC. But I have now dumped the soul-searching and wealth-creating in favour of what I like reading.