Shit is about to get real. No more browsing in bookshops. No more late night online book shopping. From tomorrow, it will be just my bookshelves and me for a whole year.
Today I had plans to meet three old school friends for our traditional end of year catch-up. It had been my intention to practice for the Year of No Book Buying by driving down to Norwood Parade and walking right past Dillon’s Bookshop. I even visualised it the previous night before falling asleep; there I was in my mind’s eye, striding right by without even glancing at the book-laden tables outside the shop.
Now, I have to come clean. Over the last month, with the new year drawing inexorably closer, I’ve been in a book buying frenzy. Like a junkie working their way through their stash before entering rehab, I have been hitting The Book Depository hard. So many amazing titles are released just before Christmas! How am I meant to wait a whole year before reading the latest from Siri Hustvedt, Zadie Smith and Olivia Laing? Come on. I’m not superhuman.
It was the last morning of 2016. I drove to the café. I was early. That was a mistake. Rather than choose a table, pull out my book and wait for my friends, I turned on my heel and marched straight into Dillons. I needed one last fix.
Ten minutes later I was having coffee with Sarah, Nicola and Kesta and we had one of those wonderful sessions where it feels as though no time has passed despite not seeing each other for a year. Tim Winton’s The Boy Behind the Curtain was nestled in my handbag.