There used to be a time that all my books fitted into one bookcase.
And that single bookcase was not even filled merely with books; there were folders filling up the bottom shelf; a collection of archaeology for kids’ magazines; my collection of cat figurines and on the top shelve stood a dark blue box with a silver mirror, brush and comb. It all started very innocently, even when the process was fully ongoing I was blind to it. The perfect take over.
Buying books didn’t go very fast at first. The first series I bought with my pocket money was Brain Jacques Mossflower. I remember I wanted to buy all three volumes at once, worried that they might be quickly sold out.
Money-wise, I believe I could have afforded 1.5 of the books. I was probably hoping that my mum would pay for the other 1.5 (or more, you can always hope). However, she convinced me that buying one volume at the time would make it more exciting. I would then have something to look forward to. Besides, what if the book wasn’t as good as I thought it would be? I would be stuck with all three of them. (Not that that was an option, the Dutch copy had the picture of a cat on the cover. Books with cats on the cover could not be bad – they just couldn’t be.) Also, books did not sell out that quickly. I’m not sure that last argument convinced me as much, but having something to look forward to did, thus I walked out with only the first volume.
The invasion started in Leiden. During the four years I attended uni, I had no choice but to purchase the books for the literature classes; the second language acquisition courses; the Irish courses and my all time favorite: Phonology. I spent those four years stacking my books into one single bookcase. Or that’s what I liked to think. In reality, some books like Richardson’s Clarissa had already found their way into the boxes underneath my bed; some had transformed into a nightstand; while others never left my desk.
Acceptance (or defeat)
I don’t think I actually ever thought that I might have too many books. There was no problem.
Until I had to move.
That day I learnt I couldn’t put all my books in one box.
A) The box would never move if I did.
B) The box would never hold out the weight of the books if I somehow did manage to move it.
C) The box wasn’t by far large enough to fit in all the books.
It was very inconvenient because it meant I needed more boxes.
Was it a problem? Of course not. My new place was a lot bigger than my student room. Instead of one bookcase, I had three new ones, plus the one from my room and two from my husband’s room. In fact, we had more space for books than the books we had.
I still buy books till this day. My ‘new’ bookcases have been replaced by yet another – and slightly bigger – bookcase. We bought the bookcase about a year ago and it still has place for more books. I’m certain that in a few months’ time, I’ll be wondering if it isn’t about time for yet another extension. Although regarding the space of my current apartment, moving out would definitely be a necessity.