A Life of Their Own

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.

The prelude

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.

Dutch editions of Mossflower

It’s necessary

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.

Status quo

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.

Cecile

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17 thoughts on “A Life of Their Own

  1. It’s so interesting to track your life in books! My first move was eye-opening too. Now after a few more moves, I’ve decided that books are a rotating inventory for me and I give a box away about every year. Then I end up buying some of the same titles back, but I’ve decided to be okay with that. Not the best system, but sort of a system! Thanks for a fun post!

  2. I always said that if someone broke into my house, they would think I was a crazy book lady. They are everywhere – toppled over in piles on either side of my bed, gathering oily dust on my kitchen shelves, and of course stuffed into any other suitable nook or cranny of the house.

    I recently got rid of a bunch. It was kind of painful. I’m not a hoarder except when it comes to books.

    Thanks for the funny read!

    1. I haven’t thought about what someone would think of my place once getting in uninvited 🙂 Perhaps if someone really feels like breaking into my place one of these days he or she can leave a note with their first impression written down on it.

      Getting rid of books is always a bit painful, but once in a while it just has to be done.

    2. Getting rid of books? Please, never say that. Never even think it. I have a weak heart, and who knows what might happen at the idea of gulp! getting rid of books? They are my friends. I have some well over 150 years old, like myself, a little wrinkly, but I wouldn’t dream of casting them out in the cold like a young Victorian girl who has been No Better Than She Ought To Be. Oh dear, I feel quite faint. Where’s the coffee tin?

      1. Hahaha, it is painful! Well, some of my old text books..I’ll admit I was gleeful to release myself from those. 😛 I love my books so much, too. Sometimes I just like to hold them between my hands. It’s just not the same reading a tablet!

  3. I count my books in linear feet. Right now, I have about 160 linear feet of shelf space chockablock with books. I, and a group of other bloggers posted a series of “show me your shelves” or “Shelfies” awhile back. It was great fun to see what others have on their shelves.

    1. I lost count at 145 metres, which is around 450 linear feet, not counting the rather large piles of books waiting to be shelved as soon as space is found. Oh yes, we do use the local and even national libraries as well. Collectively the family (of four) owns 18 library cards. At the last count, that is. Older Son, working in a far away continent, has almost certainly accumulated one or two more in the past few months. As for eBooks…!

  4. After combining one too many with my rudimentary beginnings at attempting a collection of children’s books I now have a smallish bookcase. My larger bookcase is down the street. It’s called the public library.

  5. I know the feeling. We have almost 6500 books, plus magazines, periodicals and even precious comics. The house is never big enough. The shelves never have space available. Personally, I think the cheeky little beggars breed wantonly at night when we can’t catch them at it. It must be so, as I constantly come across books that I am sure we never bought, and never knew existed.

    1. 6500 my goodness, we don’t have that many books. I’m not sure how many we’ve got, perhaps I should count them one of these days.

      See, I suspected as much they do multiply without a warning. It wasn’t my imagination.

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