Monday, November 20, 2006

Ex libris redcap

Things have become a little dire chez Hack and Bloke. We have well and truly run out of bookshelf space. Look!

That's the least of it - that's just the little bookcase in my study. It gets worse. This is the largest bookcase in the house, and it's stacked two deep:

But it gets worse still. The dining room mantelpiece has been swamped, too:

Soon we won't even be able to see the cheap-arse Monet print over the fireplace. If there's a mild earth tremor, or possibly even a thunder storm with a bit of feeling behind it, it's all going to turn to pudding.

Random piles of books are developing in odd places. The bedside tables are a given, but when they start forming on the dining room table as well, Houston, we have a problem. Yes, the pile on the dining table is "for review", but that doesn't really make much difference, does it?

I love books. They are my very favourite thing in the world. I love good fiction and history and biography and things that make me think and even the odd bit of enjoyable fluff. Oh, F Scott Fitzgerald, Charlotte Bronte, Mark Twain, Charles Frazier, Christopher Koch, Louis de Bernieres, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Graham Greene, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Augusten Burrows, Margaret Atwood, Janette Turner Hospital, Christina Stead, Robert Drewe, Peter Carey, David Malouf, Emily Dickonson, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Joseph Conrad, JK Rowling and Garth Nix, how I love you all!

I have to admit that I haven't read all of the books on those shelves. I keep buying them and filing them away for future reference and I'm buying at a greater rate than I can read. After all, if you don't buy a book when you see it, it's just as likely that the fickle world of publishing will let it lapse from print and you'll never see it again. And of course, some of them belong to Bloke. I don't mind admitting it now: I'm never going to pick up that thing on optics or any of the electromagneticky stuff. C'mon, I'm an Arts graduate, after all.

And this isn't all of it, either. There are boxes of books still around at mum's: childhood volumes that I can't bear to give up, like Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, The Magic Pudding and The Ghost of Thomas Kemp. Those boxes hold Horton Hatches the Egg, Algernon the Ant, Milly Molly Mandy, the entire Trixie Belden series and The Naughtiest Girl at School. What can I do? Happily, mum has some extra cupboard space. (Thanks mum!)

But I'm afraid the time has come (to paraphrase the walrus very roughly) to speak to carpenters.

I have a lovely vision of an entire wall of bookshelves in my study (which is also the spare room/pissed crash pad - no-one wants anything to do with Bloke's study. He's Not Tidy. Plus, mine has a nicer window.) I'm dreaming of floor-to-ceiling shelves, with a little rail and a sliding ladder so I can get to the top shelf. You know, something that I stand in front of for photographs when I'm A Real And Proper Published Author instead of just a half-hearted hack.

Sigh...

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25 Comments:

At 10:35 pm, November 20, 2006, Blogger gigglewick said...

Redcap,

Looks like my house. And I am about to move all those tomes (some weighty, some decidedly less so) down the highway a goodly way.

I have started packing them tonight and with a severe talking-to I managed to throw out two books: 'Hello Baby, Goodbye Baby Fat' (a somewhat odd gift from my mother, although in her defence I did actually HAVE a baby) and 'Let's Go Europe 2000'.

I am a master of self-discipline.

And you should do anything you can to avoid future students laughing at your book collection behind you as you are interviewed by the television news. Seriously...I always watch the books behind experts and politicians, I thnk their choices are fascinating.

 
At 10:48 pm, November 20, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Ooh, Gigglewick, I don't envy you that job! But well done throwing out two books. I think I've only thrown out two books in the last seven years, so I'm more than a little envious. Hi, I'm redcap and I'm a hoarder.

I love everyone's bookshelves, not just those owned by academics. I'm too blind to be able to read the titles on bookshelves on the telly, but at any party you'll find me standing at the bookshelf with my head on sideways. And the last time I interviewed an academic/author, I actually scored a book from his office shelf that way. Score! ;)

 
At 8:24 am, November 21, 2006, Blogger gigglewick said...

Redcap,

I do that that too. And I catch people doing it at my house. Sadly, one of the by-products can be that your books go wandering.

Moving away from Melbourne makes recovery of lost property a bit of an issue for me and I don't want to leave any books behind

(there may in fact be a scene where I am leaning out a car window with outstretched arms yelling "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! "insert irritating friend's name" still has 'Cry to Heaven' - we CAN'T LEAVE!!!!!")

 
At 8:50 am, November 21, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Ha :) I'm sure there's a special place in hell reserved for those who don't return books. And another for those who return them looking as though they've been left in the chook house for a week.

 
At 10:49 am, November 21, 2006, Blogger Scorpy said...

Damn....that looks like my place LOL. I joined anobii.com just so I could catalogue all of my books. I haven't got them all in yet but it has helped me sort them out. I have taken over every available space in my Flat and the only reason I would move into a four bedroom house is so one room could be a library. I can't bear to throw a book away and I too have kept classics from the days of yore :) I can't and won't lend books to anyone after a friend of mine, in hospital, threw away a stack of hardback books I had lent her during her recuperation...I nearly sent her back to casualty! I joined a book club and it meets every second Tuesday. It doesn’t hurt that there are only two guys as members LOL

 
At 11:28 am, November 21, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

She THREW THEM AWAY?! Gasp! I bet that brought the friendship to a crashing halt. The worst thing anyone's ever done to one of my books is drop my copy of Cloud Street in the bath. I shamed her into replacing it, but I've really never liked the cover on the new one. Now when people ask to borrow, I look very hard at them and ask whether they are chewers of books. They only get one chance - if it comes back battered, that's it.

 
At 12:02 pm, November 21, 2006, Blogger MadameBoffin said...

haha - Red you're your own bookmart!

*sigh* I'd LOOOOVVE one of those old-fashioned libraries, where a whole room is dedicated to books. Like the one in Beauty and the Beast (hey, I like Disney movies!).

And don't ever chuck out those kids books - some day in the future it'll be up to you to expose a new generation of kids to these fine stories (because lord knows they won't get it at a school :P).

 
At 2:13 pm, November 21, 2006, Blogger killerrabbit said...

Ohh a whole wall of books...I have always wanted one of those bookshelves expect I am still renting. Darn landlords don't understand my crazy book hoarding needs. I recently bought a new bookshelf, after a lot of searching, and it was full straight away! I had so many excess books it was completely full *sigh* so i have to buy another bookshelf now.

kgehoyxy

 
At 2:42 pm, November 21, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Boff, please stop talking about entire rooms lined with books. I'm drooling.

Killer, I had the same problem. Bought the bookcase and hey presto, full. I should have bought one ages ago, but I've been resisting, knowing then I'd never bite the bullet and get the shelves put in. Oh, and a cheerful kgehoyxy to you, too! Pesky old word verification ;)

 
At 3:17 pm, November 21, 2006, Blogger killerrabbit said...

kgehoyxy....a book eating gremilin that chews out the glue in the spine so the front couple and the back couple of pages fall out.

 
At 4:00 pm, November 21, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

He he he :) Perhaps if we leave out a bucket of Barbara Taylor Bradford books for the kgehoyxy, it will leave the real books alone.

 
At 7:05 am, November 22, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

Found your blog through Stef's. Wow! Your place looks like ours. Nearly wall-to-wall books. Our bookcases are even stacked three levels deep. And no, we haven't read everything either. And I currently have bookmarks in about 487 books. ;)

We love books. I would bathe in books if I could. ;)

 
At 9:10 am, November 22, 2006, Blogger Ms Smack said...

Wow!

 
At 4:45 pm, November 22, 2006, Blogger Mex said...

when my mum dies i am getting all her books.

is it wrong of me to say that i am looking forward to it.

the books that is...

 
At 4:57 pm, November 22, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Dan, bathing in books sounds a bit pointy :) But multiple bookmarks are very useful! From the state of some second-hand books, though, I suspect some people use slices of bacon as bookmarks.

Mex, I think you should make sure you're down for the bookcases too.

 
At 9:10 pm, November 22, 2006, Blogger Aurelius said...

Looks like the house I lived in when I was married.

 
At 11:45 am, November 23, 2006, Blogger Steph said...

Those sliding ladder things are way cool. I want one of those too, just so i can slide around the walls when I'm bored.

 
At 12:03 pm, November 23, 2006, Blogger Zoe said...

You know how you said that as soon as you bought a bookcase it was full?

I've seen the same thing happen when my mate had 3 walls of ceiling to floor shelves put in. You will never win, because you will acquire books faster than you can house them. NTTAWWT

 
At 12:31 pm, November 23, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Aurelius, I hope you won custody of the books.

Steph, sounds like it could be as much fun as swinging on the Hill's Hoist!

Zoe, that phenomenon must have a name. The First Law of Book Squirrels, perhaps?

 
At 3:34 pm, November 23, 2006, Blogger Javatari said...

Have you considered storing books in the roof space?

I have books under the bed....well dirty magazines anyway.

 
At 5:08 pm, November 25, 2006, Blogger peter said...

see it's the dusting that kills me. i have one single, narrow shelf devoted to my modest (and very transient) book collection, and even then the mammoth job of moving, oh, seven books ensures a fine coating of the city's detritus lingers long.

 
At 2:32 pm, November 26, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Javatari, I would, but then I wouldn't be able to see them and starlings might nest in them. Storing books in boxes seems to defeat their purpose. Of course, if I could line the roof space and put in one of those handy little attic ladders, then it could become the library...

Peter, "the city's detritus lingers long" - how poetic! But who says I dust? When I pull out a book, I just blow the fluff and cat fur off it ;)

 
At 8:25 pm, November 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely save the Snugglepot and cuddlepie for your future daughter.
But does she really need the Trixie Beldens???
seepi

 
At 8:58 pm, November 26, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Aww, come on, Seepi - what's wrong with Trixi Belden? I loved her when I was 10.

 
At 2:47 pm, November 30, 2006, Anonymous teddy said...

Hmm, you do have to worry about Javatari----the books under the bed----Kinda betting that he has his on little reading room with its own comfortable porcelain seat---buddy, just keep your dirty mags out for the visitors to read and recycle them to your mates---if you have any

 

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