Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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The Value of Books – “Books v Cigarettes” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

November 11th, 2011 · No Comments · Culture, Reading Related

Adding the other batch of books that I have elsewhere, it seems that I possess altogether nearly 900 books, at a cost of 165 15s. This is the accumulation of about fifteen years—actually more, since some of these books date from my childhood: but call it fifteen years.
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It is difficult to establish any relationship between the price of books and the value one gets out of them. “Books” includes novels, poetry, text books, works of reference, sociological treatises and much else, and length and price do not correspond to one another, especially if one habitually buys books second-hand. You may spend ten shillings on a poem of 500 lines, and you may spend sixpence on a dictionary which you consult at odd moments over a period of twenty years. There are books that one reads over and over again, books that become part of the furniture of one’s mind and alter one’s whole attitude to life, books that one dips into but never reads through, books that one reads at a single sitting and forgets a week later: and the cost, in terms of money, may be the same in each case.

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