During a recent inventory session of my library, I found out that I was a shelf short. Rather that my book collection had understandably outgrown my little book shelf. Having outgrown it, I am proud and frustrated.
I also realised that I had a few books that I hadn’t read. Not that many – but there are a few that I somehow never got round to, some that I tried and didn’t manage to finish. This is a small number compared to the number of books that I do read. I usually finish the ones I start – even the bad ones.
But I am guilty of hoarding books. I almost never buy just 1 or 2 books at a time. I carry a basketful/armload out of the bookstore, especially since I buy many of them used or at sales.
For instance, The Strand Book Stall recently had an up to 80% off sale (one of their biannual book sales). Now, what bibliophile could resist? I stumbled out with my two heavy bags, only having overshot my budget by a wee little bit.
But this habit of buying books has meant that any bookshelf I have keeps overflowing. The latest lot of books I bought at the sale don’t have any space on the shelf. The solution? The best option would be to join a library, right? Well, not really… See, libraries haven’t quite worked out for me in the past.
For instance my school library – I only got to go once a week when we had our library period. That is where I started reading some of my favourite series like Malory Towers, St. Clare’s, Three Investigators and so on. But this once a week 40 minute stint – woefully little. Plus we were not allowed to borrow books from the library to take home. Oh, well, I had a very robust book collection at home to keep me happy all through my school years.
About 7 years ago, Saturdays afternoons were spent in Eloor – picking up the 3-4 books I wanted to read that month. This worked well for a while, but once I got busy with work, those books would stay with me much longer than the 2 week limit. Now this library has a late fee, and that meant that by the time I took the books back, my fine had added up to almost the cost of the book. This was not working. Added to that niggling feeling of not having returned the books on time, I was also shelling out a fair bit of cash. So eventually, I gave up on going to the library.
So the only thing that works for me is to just buy the books – as and when they catch my fancy. If I buy them at sales or buy the second hand copies, I can actually pick up about 10-12 at a time and not have to give up eating for the rest of the month.
But that doesn’t solve the problem of storing them. I never buy hardbacks – they are too heavy to carry in my handbag and not fun to read in bed. But even the thinner paperbacks have taken over all the book space I have in this house (too little!)
As long as I have this habit (and it’s not going away), I’m going to need more book space! Hubby Wolfman and I have discussed design options for a new bookshelf. See some really cool designs here, and here. I also love some of the larger ones here. Excitement! How big can I make it? And how many books can I fit into it? I’m planning ahead, trying to pre-empt the need to do this again too soon.
There are some things that my book shelf absolutely must have:
- Adjustable shelves / shelves of different heights to fit the tall books. Especially since I sadly have books from different publishers for the same series. See these Wheel of Time books?
- The shelf needs to be long rather than deep because I want to be able to see all my books at any time. I go back to books I’ve read and seeing them all helps me pick the one that best suits my mood.
- A glass door – since we live in a dusty dusty land.
- A lock – because I am a little book crazy and want to ensure that people understand that I don’t lend my books. There are too many books I have lent that never came back, so my policy now is “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”
- The shelf also needs to be sturdy (to take all that weight) and look pretty so that I can enjoy the books in all their glory.
So I’m rubbing my hands with glee and trying to find that perfect design. The game is afoot!
Any book hoarders out there? What solutions have you come up with? Any cool book storing ideas you want to share?