My books have reached a critical mass. They’re spilling over the carpet, lent on each other like the lintels of Stonehenge and hiding in the spider space under the bookshelves. Some have even mounted a break- away movement, stacked like a siege engines beside the bed.
Something has to be done.
Him-in-the-Office has moved out into his glorified shed behind the garage. The old office was empty, abandoned, unloved. Bless him, he paints it, he varnishes the computer-chair-scuffed floor and best of all, installs three whopping great big bookshelves.
Simply move my books in and Bob’s your uncle, (or Charley’s your aunt or whatever). Ah. Which books to move?
Now the sitting room shelves largely consist of the sea collection. Hundreds of them: diving guides, sailing yarns,whales, shark-spotting guides, mermaids. Oh and Venice and the arty outsize jobbies. So I move Venice out to the new shelves and move some children’s books about the sea down from my study. Fine. Though I might need them.
Still too many books upstairs.
I move the loose canons, the stacked sets, the-slotted-in-sideways-on-top-ones. Good.
How to organise? By author – no chance. I’ve got a blog to write!
Subject matter then. Promising: plenty of genres – gothic spooky horror things, folklore and fantasy, maps and pub walks. Should I move ‘Mortlock’ into its section – or leave it on top of the bedside radio? Where does ‘Tall Story’ go? Odd bits. Hang on, I haven’t read all of these.
Mustn’t start reading – mustn’t look at Philip Ardagh’s Book of Absolutely Useless Lists – it’s a time machine. Discipline – stick to your brief, woman. And what was that exactly? Reorganise the so-and-so books.
M. A. stuff, that needs to be in the study. Easy. And all the how-tos, and the other reference books I might just need. Oh – I put the folklore downstairs. Clump, clump, clump. Right – kids’ upstairs, adults down. Seems reasonable. Not enough room – or rather the wrong sort of room. Some are outsize and won’t fit in the new shelves anyway.
Read and unread? Possibly – but I’m not sure which ones Him-in-the-Office has read. And I am not having all his Sharpes downstairs. Bad enough seeing my Tolkien addiction revealed in all its Numenorean glory.
I try grabbing random books and shoving them on the shelves any old how.
There aren’t many places you’ll see Meg Rossoff next to Stephenie Meyer.
Aaargh. I give up.
I go down into the village. I buy some fresh bread, some little cork feet to stop the book ends scratching my shiny new shelves and pop in the charity shops.. and buy more books.