Ever since I was a child one of the things I wanted when I grew up was a library of my own (and doesn't every young girl) but I've never been quite sure what counts as a library - where's the tipping point when a collection of books take on that particular mantle? It was something on my mind back when I started blogging - I thought perhaps I was becoming more interested in books as objects instead of for what they contained and that the collector was overtaking the reader. I wouldn't be at all happy with the idea of everything being contained on an e-reader - the books own me just as much as I own them and I'm happy with it this way - although at the moment they've become rather unruly and in need of an organise.
Last night though I made the definite discovery that I know own a library, albeit a small one. I will confess at this point that I have no idea how many books I have. I stopped counting sometime about 2000, I think there are probably about 3000 now and I should, along with imposing some sort of a system, catalogue them but it's a big enough job to seriously cut into my reading time which is unappealing at the moment.
This momentous revelation came to me some time around midnight and partly courtesy of amazon. I've been reading Sara Maitland's 'Gossip From The Forest' (excellent, but I've had to have a dictionary to hand - my newly expanded vocabulary includes words like chthonic and deracinated, I particularly like deracinated). I'll enthuse wildly about this book soon but meanwhile the edition of Grimm's fairy tales she references is the Vintage 'Complete Fairy Tales' edited by Jack Zipes - happily the very copy I have which has been useful. I'd quite like to re-read Angela Carter's take on fairy tales when I'm finished, which will be easy because obviously I have her collected short stories as well as her version of Perrault's fairy stories, which I could compare with the Oxford World's Classics edition (if only I could find it, I know I have it somewhere, I was reading it not so long ago - maybe I shouldn't put off that re-shuffle).
After that I might actually tackle Marina Warner's 'From The Beast To The Blonde' for another slant on fairy tales - though I might also read Barbara Comyns 'The Juniper Tree' a retelling of another of the Grimm's tales - browsing amazon I realised I already had a copy, and was just sighing over the price of 'A Touch of Mistletoe' (also by Comyns and at £18.99 for a paperback and never mind the postage, now far to expensive for the likes of me) when I thought to check my own shelves - I had a copy. Also, and slightly to my disappointment because the new cover looks lovely I also have 'The Vet's Daughter'.
Equally I could decide to read in another direction altogether, I've been saving Robert Macfarlane 'The Old Ways' but this may be it's moment, or a re read of 'The Wild Places' or maybe something else altogether. This is why I think I have a library now; I can follow a reading path without having to buy or borrow books (not having to isn't the same as not wanting to) - there are obviously gaps but nonetheless the books follow one another in an orderly way; I feel like I've got a treasure house of possibilities piled up around me and it's just as good as I ever could have imagined it would be.