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Are Books Grounds for Divorce?

I love books. And I collect them. Lots of them. What is wrong with that, huh? Nothing. But hubby doesn’t agree. He’s “sick” of having to teeter through tottering towers of paperbacks to get from one side of the room to the other.

You see, I'm like cat woman - I don't mean the Cat Woman - I mean, the elderly neighbour who takes in abandoned cats when nobody wants them. Instead of cats, though, I take in books. People bring them to me. And I can't say no.

I take what's going and because of it, I’ve read some fascinating stories which I wouldn’t have otherwise chosen. For instance, this one by Auberon Waugh (Haven't heard of him? Neither had I.) The last few pages were mouldy so I tore them off and dumped them. Then I started reading - it's really funny - but because I'd removed the last pages, I will never know the ending!

My books are breeding like rabbits. And I'm having to hide them from hubby. I stack them behind curtains, in the bottom of my shoe cupboard and under the bed. What doesn't help is, I go to this place called Emmaus (I'm in France) and all the expats who are going back to live in the UK dump their books there – thousands of them. Since the French folk are not interested in buying English books, I have the place to myself.

It's just ME! The added bonus is, the books are 20 centimes, which means I come away with bags and bags and bags.

Last Saturday, my hubby finally went berserk (his voice went up an octave) so I promised, hand on heart, that I would take all the books I have read back to Emmaus.

Well, there's a problem with that. It's not easy donating to Emmaus - it's such a rigmarole of parking, queueing, then handing your stuff over to the right person. So instead of depositing my books in the usual manner, I sidled into the book section and secretly put them back on the shelves. (Imagine yourself going into your high street bookshop, buying up twenty books, going home, reading them and then tiptoeing back into the shop to surreptiously put them back on the shelves).

Sorry, I have to go. Hubby has found a cache behind the boiler and he doesn’t sound too happy...

Right, I’ve just got back from “Having a word”.

Hubby told me the books are no joke. He said: "It’s intellectual clutter. It’s stultifying, suffocating." He said I’m like one of these eccentric old men in tartan slippers who hoard and don’t answer the door. Then when Social Services breaks in, they find him dead on the floor, his flat filled to the ceiling with piles of newspapers.

Hubby’s description gave me a cold chill. Is that how he thinks of me? Is that how I’m going to end up? But I don’t want to be that old man in slippers!

Does anybody want a book?


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