When my books were safely on the shelves I gave no thought to their growing number and expanse, but as I popped them into 4 boxes and a small suitcase to move house I realised that yes, I do have more books than I thought. As I lifted the boxes I thought that maybe I have too many books. I squeezed them all into my new bookshelves – just about – and vowed that I would buy no more!
Except, when I went to buy a present in Blackwells I thought I might as well browse the second hand section, and then I saw one book that has been in my Amazon basket for ages since it has some early poems by one of my thesis poets, and another that I have already consulted in the library, but would be nice to have in my collection of Northern Irish poetry anthologies. Reader, I bought them both.
To make things worse I have the niggling guilt that my bedroom at home home (ie. back in Northern Ireland) is also slowly being taken over by the books I bring back in my suitcase. The shelves are bending under the weight so I’ve started piling them on the floor so they look like small mushrooms of modernist novels and little trees of literary theory. I’ve even kept some of my Old English texts because, I argue, I never know when perhaps I will be asked to give an impromptu seminar on Old English grammatical constructions in religious texts. (I hope this never happens). Also, once my books make it to Northern Ireland they rarely get let out again. When I have a house I dread their arrival, for Ikea Billy Bookcases may not cut it.
In penance I sat by my shelves and tried to pick out the lesser loved texts for the chop. I managed the grand total of 4. And I’m reconsidering one of them – what if it goes out of print?
Clearly this book problem isn’t going to get solved.
So, I can never ever move house again.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this post you will almost certainly love Bookshelf Porn from which this photograph is taken.