Books VS Socks

Reading & Writing

And so I finish my week of writing articles with something a tad more light-hearted.

\In 1946, George Orwell wrote an entertaining essay entitled ‘Books V Cigarettes’, in which he totted up the cost and pleasure of both and came down firmly on the side of books.

After setting out to buy socks and returning with books instead, I’d like to present a further argument to that. One has to take into the account the often irrational levels of pleasure that both books and socks provide, so these are the fourteen reasons that informed my decision.

1. Books generally last longer than socks, if you compare, say, ‘War And Peace’ to a pair of Adidas sport short-cut ankle-socks. Although if you’re reading, say, ‘The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle’ socks will last longer because you’ll hurl the book into the nearest large body of water by Chapter Five.

2. Books are available in millions of varieties, whereas socks are basically black, white, shades thereof, or coloured/striped comedy socks worn by Lanyard People at the weekend to show that they still have a faint muscle-memory of what fun was.

3. You can’t go without books, but you can go without socks. (For the Shoreditch area of London, this is a command).

4. Socks need to be thoroughly washed. It is rarely recommended to thoroughly wash books.

5. You can have long, convoluted arguments in the pub about a mutually enjoyed book. It is much harder to do this with a sock.

6. You can, however, make a puppet from a sock. You can make a puppet from a book only if it has printed instruction on how to do so.

7. Books don’t wear out, unless you re-read them or leave them on a sunbed all day. And they don’t shrink. Although they sometime do get a small annoying hole in one corner.

8. I’m more likely to lend my socks to a friend than I am to lend them my favourite books.

9. Say you’re reading two books at once and you lose one. It’s less of a big deal than losing a sock.

10. Both books and socks seem to go missing for no reason.

11. When you buy a pack of three pairs of socks, it’s rarely described as a trilogy.

12. Both books and socks are warm, comfortable things you can slip into. You don’t really enjoy your socks unless they’re thick white hiking socks, and you have a log fire going. But you’ll never be moved to write to the manufacturer of your socks.

13. Badly chosen socks will make you look ridiculous. Whereas there’s no such thing as mismatched books.

14. You can dust a floor with your socks. But you can wipe the room with your books.

Verdict: Books win over socks every time.

22 comments on “Books VS Socks”

  1. Denise Treadwell says:

    I have more books than socks, I don’t wear socks, only in boots. I prefer books to socks any day. Socks can be washed , books can’t!

  2. Peter Tromans says:

    It’s difficult to find decent socks and I hate looking for them. I like my socks to be free of synthetics, the -anes, -enes and -esters. And they should be quite a bit bigger than my feet and not too thick or too thin. I don’t have such problems with books. The world has lots of good books, but few good socks, no socks appeal.

  3. Martin Tolley says:

    When I was a student about Glasgow in the late ’70s you needed socks. You couldn’t carry a billiard ball in a book.

  4. chazza says:

    Being diabetic, I cannot wear elasticated socks but I have no such problem with elasticated books…

  5. Brooke says:

    Socks beat the crap out of books.
    1. Socks like people come in many wonderful colors and textures. Books–hard, cold things. Although if you’re British I suppose you prefer the latter.
    2. Colorful cashmere Corgis are good conversion starters, especially with men of a certain age. No one talks to me when I’m reading, even if the book is exciting–like “One Plus One Equals One: Symbiosis and the Evolution of Life.”
    3. Books are common–all over the place, stores, libraries, iPad, Kindle. Socks are for the discriminating. You have to be on the list of certain manufacturers and retailers.

  6. Peter Tromans says:

    Brooke, Baffled by Cashmere Corgis, I had to google. They look very good, unfortunately a bit £££ even if by appointment to HRH PoW. Oh dear, I must be of a certain age …

  7. jeanette says:

    My sons and their partners don’t care about matching socks. They put on socks which come to hand. I am in awe of their decision, can you imagine a life of freedom from finding missing and matching socks.

  8. snowy says:

    If you drop either in the bath, they can be dried out on a radiator. Only the sock will escape the experience unscathed.

    Even if you don’t need a very small stone while out walking, your socks will gather one just in case you do.

    You can change your socks three times a day, without the library staff getting suspscious.

    If you want to pad out your underwear to enhance your appeal to a potential partner, you are more likely to get away with the illusion if you stick to socks.

    You can’t strain paint through a book.

  9. Jo W says:

    Books are better than socks, unless the cold weather strikes and then,there’s nothing better than having bedsocks to keep your feet warm while lounging in bed reading,reading reading. That’s the time when they work in harmony. 😉

  10. Brooke says:

    @ Peter Thomas–do not despair. Happy Socks (Swedish, cheaper) has a flagship store in London–Covent Garden I think. Cotton only but they wear well and look great..

    On line try SMC makes several brands of socks–click along the logos to see: alcester & sons, Red Lion and QT are great. Can also buy through Amazon.

    But cotton rag socks worn by construction works are the absolute best except that they do not work with high heels.

  11. admin says:

    Who strains paint through a sock?
    You’re all barmy.

  12. Peter Tromans says:

    Brooke, Thank you for the info.

    Admin, Quite correct. For paint straining, you should use a kind lady’s finest silk stocking or tights.

  13. Jo W says:

    You’re right,Chris,but it’s being barmy wot keeps us sane! 😉

  14. SteveB says:

    The man who mistook his socks for a book
    Not by Oliver Sacks
    I was in the middle of my regular Sunday afternoon chore of arranging my Bryant and May collection into matching pairs…

  15. Brooke says:

    Barmy…you say that as though it is a bad thing.
    And I must ask my household help why one strains paint?

  16. Wayne Mook says:

    My daughter had a soft, squishy bath-time book, soft foam with a plastic covering, which also squirted water, it was about a duck, she also had a number of thick, cloth books that could double as a pillow.

    The thicker hard backs can be used to prop up furniture, I once used a copy of David Copperfield to prop up a futon, can’t be done with a sock.

    If I go running with a book it doesn’t end up being smelly.

    Now out of date but a thin book down the back of the pants helped when being thrashed at school.


  17. Ian Luck says:

    I always buy black socks – and then, if you’re idle, like me, it doesn’t matter if you don’t sort them after washing. As I always wear Doctor Martens’ boots, nobody sees them anyway. I’m easily distracted when shopping – going to get supplies for a barbecue the other year, I completely failed to buy any comestibles, but I did get a Union flag cushion for the cat; an ‘Empire Strikes Back’ t-shirt, and a notebook with an astonishingly tactile rubber cover. FAIL.

  18. Helen Martin says:

    Socks say a great deal about one, but so do books. I looked through the corgi socks and decided that while Welsh men are interesting and possibly exciting Welsh women are rather boring, or possibly trying to hide their feet under anonymous socks. I don’t know what the Welsh read – unless it is Jasper Fforde for the adverts at the end.
    You have to strain paint if you haven’t covered the surface carefully enough on saved cans of paint. Or if you’ve been painting in a dust storm or during lilac petal drop or while those little green caterpillars are swinging down on their filaments.

  19. chazza says:

    On my next visit to the British Library, I must ask if they have a sock section…If not, at least I have my 5 volume Taschen guide to “Socks of the World” to fall back upon…

  20. SimonB says:

    Reads item 2 on list, checks round neck, Oh God, I’m a Lanyard person!

  21. Richard Burton says:

    We do have a washable book. The Rainbow Fish by the worryingly named Marcus Pfister.

  22. Ian Luck says:

    You could put small, heavy books like Collins’ Pocket Gem dictionaries, and Thesauruses into a big sock, and lamp someone with it. Who’s the Daddy? Father? Paterfamilias? Old codger? etc.

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