A few weeks ago I went into a secondhand bookshop and discovered a copy
of a book I’ve long been after – Fergus Millar’s The Emperor in the Roman World. (I wanted it for research purposes, for some theoretical
future novel). I was overcome with excitement, snatched it off the shelf, discovered it was £5 and immediately bought it. It was only as I was walking
home in the bright sunshine, pleased with my purchase, that a nagging doubt started somewhere in the back of my mind that I’d already bought a copy
of the same book before. Once I was home, I searched for it – and sure enough, there it was at the back on one of my many piles. (As a matter of fact,
I also discovered I had two copies of Descartes’ Discourse on the Method / The Meditations).
I remember once saying to myself that
I’d stop buying books if I ever bought two copies of the same book without realising it. Needless to say, I won’t.