Saturday, 13 November 2010

Books, books, books and, yes, more books

When I moved house some 15 years ago, my daughter, who doesn't read books at all, volunteered to help. I don't think she had any idea of the number of books I had then. My marriage had just split up and my first romantic notion had been to live on a boat. When my eldest brother had finished laughing, he said that I couldn't do that because my books would sink it.

So, when Vicky ended up unpacking the 30th box of books in the new place, I wasn't too surprised when she growled "If all else fails, mother, we can always read!" I seriously have never thought that I have more books than most people. I've been reading fluently since I was 5 and regularly have about 4 books on the go at once. If I am unwell, I can read 3 a day. Mind you, if I'm very unwell, I just lay in bed and groan. Books have been a huge part of my life ever since I read "Little Grey Rabbit and the Speckledy Hen" to my mother. I could read when I started school, which infuriated the teachers and frustrated me. My life has had two constants. Books and music. I could no more live without them than I could run the London Marathon.

When Paul and I got together, he, too, was horrified at the number of books I possessed. Mostly because he had to turn over one wall of the spare room to shelves to house some of them. I had books which never got unpacked until we moved to this house in 2007. My books are like my children. I can't get rid of them. So, in self defence, Paul suggested that we turn the dining room in the basement into a library/dining room. Great idea.

The builder came up with a design at which point he discovered his first mistake. Not enough shelf space for the books I currently have, not to mention those I aim to buy in the future. He didn't believe me, so I took him all over the house and he measured the shelf space my current holdings take up. Then I sat him down and gave him some strong coffee. I didn't like to tell him that in deference to Paul's horror, I now have approximately two thirds of the books I used to own. We took 7 large boxes of them to the local hospice shop. I think they were horrified, too. I must confess here, that I have sneakily re-purchased some of the ones I had to throw out.

Anyway, so here we are and this morning has been taken up with moving the books to the new shelves in the basement. Now it's my turn to be horrified. I can see that it won't be long before I am forced to do another cull and give some of my darlings away.

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