Sunday, January 19, 2014

Regrets, I've had a few...

But none greater than not buying more bookshelves when I moved into this flat, unless I count buying a flat so near the top of the property boom that it will be years before I can afford to sell it. Teetering on negative equity however is only a problem in so much as it means I can't afford to live in a bigger house (with more bookshelf space) in a part of the country with a wider range of employment options or better scenery. On the whole I really like my flat, the mortgage is basically affordable and I've been happy here. No the big problem is a lack of bookshelves.

When I got the (perfect in just about every way) bookshelves I had nine years less books to home so it looked like they had plenty of space on them, and I wanted wall space for pictures too. They came from IKEA (who damn it all stopped selling them not long after) they are far bigger than any other flat pack bookshelves I've found since, pleasingly deep, have an inoffensive plainness about them, are sufficiently sturdy to stand up despite my questionable diy skills and the considerable weight placed on them (not so my billy bookcase which is wedged into a corner and balanced on some cardboard), and were wonderfully cheap. They are also full and overflowing so I can no longer find things which annoys me and it's hopeless to try and impose any sort of order which also annoys me.

I'm not one of those people who minds having a 1000 books or so that are unread, I rest easy at night knowing that however poor the future leaves me (though I'd rather it didn't) I'll never be short of something to read. I adore books as objects and for the memories they hold quite apart from the entertainment their contents offer. I hate getting rid of books. Partly this is because although I could spend the afternoon weeding out things I don't think I'll ever read again, and in a few cases just never read, and in the process probably clear out a second hand bookshops worth of stuff who's to say I won't want it again one day. It's also because I spent time (and money) on choosing to bring these things into my home because I do want to keep them.

Never the less I've had a root round and cleared out about 2 foot of redundant books, mostly reference works and mostly because I've got more up to date versions. It makes very little difference to the overall problem and I'm left feeling more than a little sad that the Oxford companion to Wine that saw me through all my WSET exams is going but what do you do? I'm not going to stop getting books unless people stop publishing books I'm likely to want, the idea of living in a home without them appals me, but the increasing disorder makes me crazy.


  1. I'm always interested in hearing about others bookshelves, seeing them, and the problem of not enough bookcases/shelves is one that probably most booklovers have. The ideal ways to have one's books on shelves is for them to all be showing and none tucked behind, but I believe there are few that have it like that! It must be some sort of law of nature that no matter how many bookshelves, they are never enough! I have nine bookcases now, from small to large, and apart from two of them, the others were bought cheaply secondhand, but real wood, and they all look pretty good now, considering that some looked a bit shabby when I first bought them.

    I agree completely about the comfort of having a great amount of unread books, no worry of never having anything to read no matter if hard times come; and about how terrible to imagine living without them. Always stock up for life!

    1. Part of my issue is that I don't want my flat to look like a second hand bookshop, or worse yet the stockroom of a second hand bookshop, I'm not overly design conscious but it's a small flat and it's looking like I'm losing control of it... I have 5 proper bookshelves and then piles of wine boxes with books in as sort of shelves and also stacks of books just hanging around. What I really like about the pictured shelf (of which I have 4) is that they're good and tall but also over a meter wide. Anything similar I've seen costs around £500 - these were £60 back in the day. Still I have this same dilemma every 6 months or so, a nice lie down and a cup of tea will distract me.

  2. I don't regret having more than 1000 unread books either. They are comforting (and offer soundproofing and insulation) and I too have memories attached even to those I haven't read yet. I do wish I didn't have to double-stack though...

  3. Kindred spirits - but I already knew that. My mind is turning to spring cleaning, I want a bit of order and like you I'm not a huge fan of double stacking. The thing is the more books I have the more important it feels to have them in some sort of order so I can find what I've got, and to stop myself from doubling up. Still it's not the worst problem to have in your life.