Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Books . . . and yet more books

My bookshelf is one of my favourite pieces of furniture. It's solid oak, 3m wide, four shelves high, and is the centrepiece of my living room. In fact, when looking for places to buy, ensuring I had a wall to put it against and room enough to get it inside, was a prime consideration.

The problem is that my mighty bookshelf is full. Invariably I have books stacked above or in front of the rows, and it was all starting to look untidy. One option was to purchase a new shelf, which I may yet do. However, in the short term I decided to purge -- go through every book and see whether there were any I could part with.

This is more tricky than it sounds. I am an incurable book-buyer and can't bear the thought of parting with any of them. How does one decide what to relinquish? It is likely that I have many books that I'll never read again -- in truth, most of them; but does this mean I no longer want them? Definitely not! Just looking at them brings back fond memories and I find myself wanting to read them again, so if there's the slightest chance I'll get around to it, I want to keep it. Moreover, I like to lend my books to people -- to share the joy of a good book.

Even more frustrating is the number of books I've bought over the years, but haven't yet read! These would number at least 50 -- I haven't counted, it would be too depressing. Most of them are fantasy/SF genre, but a good number are general fiction and some non-fiction as well. I can't honestly see how I'll ever get around to reading all of them. Yet I dusted them lovingly and replaced them on the shelf. I just don't seem to read as much these days as I once did.

So at the end of hours of dusting and sorting (and grazing!) I have one very small box of books to get rid of. The rest are all nicely arranged and rearranged, looking a lot neater, with some space to spare (for the new books!). To achieve this, I have succumbed to double-stacking of paperbacks on a couple of the shelves.

Moral of story: I need to devote many more hours to reading!

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