I currently share my one bedroom flat with roughly 1600 books (I gave up counting somewhere near 1450 but that was a while ago and they keep coming in) and I have to ask – where will the next one go? I’m not getting any more space and, well, the books do keep on coming. There’s a pattern (which will be familiar to many) starting with my famous five collection. I start off with a shelf, the shelf gets filled, another shelf arrives (the first extra shelf when I was about 7 came with a reading light attached courtesy of my dad being quite good at that sort of thing, I don’t get that sort of attention to detail now.)
When we moved from Shetland to Leicestershire there was a whole (small) wall of shelves in the room I shared with my sister. I appropriated the shelves, my sister had to make do with some in the airing cupboard but she’s not a reader so there’s no need for sympathy. Eventually I set off for university leaving the by now overflowing shelves behind, amazingly my sister put up with this situation.
Halls or residence have surprisingly modest shelving provision and I had a corresponding income so the book situation stabilised for a couple of years – until I moved into a flat. I got more shelves which acted like a magnet (or something). A couple of years later I moved back home with guess what – yes indeed, more books. When I moved again it was into a shared house so ¾’s of my books went into storage. I kept on acquiring books which ended up living in suitcases under the bed – one of the many reasons it seemed like time to take the leap and buy a flat. The edge of fear that came with mortgaging my soul and future to the bank was blunted by the generous wall space I acquired in the transaction.
But now 6 years later the shelves are filled, the walls are filled, every surface and quite a bit of the floor has books on it and it’s time for a tidy up. The answer is not by the way a kindle. I can’t afford one, and don’t want one. I like books, I like being surrounded by books, (I just don’t like the feral state they’re descending into at the moment). I’ve sort of tried ebooks in that there are some stored somewhere in the bowls of my laptop but they’re out of sight and out of mind which means the chances of me reading them are negligible. What I really need are some ingenious and possibly decorative storage solutions (sadly a bigger home is out of the question).