Why buy novels?

I have a confession to make: I don’t place much value on buying novels.

“The atrocity!” I hear you thinking. “How dare she proclaim herself a literature lover! She doesn’t even support the very industry that she depends on for her soul’s food!”

Alright, maybe soul’s food was a little too much. I mean, ew. Bad enough that the body needs to consume food, we don’t need to drag the soul down to the material level of the body as well.

I shall hurriedly come over to rescue my honour.

First, I don’t buy books in general. Except lately I seem to have discovered such a thing called spending power and have loosened those purse strings when there are book sales. Before that I only bought one book at a time, and they would be Singapore poetry collections. (See? I do support the industry! A very niche part of it!)

Second, which I already half-revealed above, when I buy books, I mostly buy poetry.

Third, when I don’t buy poetry, I buy every other Humanities book except novels.

Fourth, when I do buy novels, I make sure that either I have read it before and have loved it to death, or I know for sure that it is fabulous after some amount of research and soaking up the literary grapevine.

Ie, no such thing as impulse buying when it comes to novels.

I offer some lines of defense:

1. When one has been spoilt by the fabulous library system in Singapore, which is, truly, a thing I cannot love enough in this country, one finds it hard to see meaning in possessing books that in all probability already exist in the libraries.

But what about rereading? You cry. That brings me to my next point,

2. Notice my disclaimer on point 4 above? “…I have read it before and have loved it to death…” Impulse reading? The library provides for it.

3. Therefore, one normally strives to look out for books that don’t exist in the libraries. I’m sure you can make your own leap of logic here.

4. And our libraries are kinda lacking in the poetry section.

5. The Humanities books? I just somehow think you have a higher probability of wanting to refer back to someone’s thought process, or historical trivia, or etymology explorations. This is probably where I am weakest in my defense of my literary honour.

Anyhow this whole post is just here so that I don’t end up with a one-liner exclaiming “I got HP7 and Jonathan Strange at six bucks each, and I have made it my life’s goal to possess all HP books at one third their original price!”

I guess that’s why Twitter and FB status updates are the rage. Because one-liners don’t end up being as lame as they are in blog posts.

I also got a book “An Apology for Idlers,” which I am going to wave as a white flag of surrender should anyone come bugging me about the work I haven’t done. It so happens to have a white cover as well, obviously meant for such a purpose.


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