Sunday, 17 August 2014


Today I am sad because I miss my beautiful books and my lovely bookshelves. Kariebookish, on twitter, posted a link* to an article on "styling" one's bookshelves, the gist of which was sparing use of books as decoration and significant use of negative space. I hardly know what to make of this. I've been an avid reader of books my whole life and worked in a bookstore for just over five years. I'm from the school of thought that bookcases should be stuffed, absolutely stuffed with (organized) books. And that they're beautiful.

I had a modular set of bookcases which were enough for two walls in most rooms I rented. I had enough books to fill them, paperbacks stacked and hardcovers standing proud between them. In the space in front of the books I had picture frames holding pictures of my friends, usually group shots, from some of the happiest times in my life, and knick-nacks and candles, mostly tea lights, in a range of holders. The shelves themselves were beautiful, a light pine, and for the cross beams I splurged on the wine-racks for the front, turned upside-down so they were scalloped. They were the envy of ikea interiorists everywhere.

And I left them, almost all of them, when it left. Jackie got the shelves along with my pretty much all of my household stuff (including my modal sheets. Man. Modal sheets.) and most of the books were sold to half priced books along with the DVDs for so little. They didn't want the hardcovers, you see, they don't much shift hardcovers. But I was leaving and I didn't have time or money and I couldn't take it with me, except it turns out I could have taken about six times what I did for the same price but by the time I knew that it was all gone.

I kept my autographed hardcover Pratchetts and my mother got my hardcover Harry Potters (the first two were technically hers) and the rest...I'm replacing things as I reread them and buying new ones in ebook form and I love everything about ebooks, about taking 600 titles with me on holiday, about reading on my phone or tablet or e-reader, whatever is most convenient at e moment, about backlighting and buying and reading a the next book in a series seconds after finishing the previous one, even at 3am, and having books magically show up for being pre-ordered. I especially, and this was the clincher for me who moved something like 9 times in four years, culminating in moving across a continent and an ocean, I especially love not having to box them up and carry them somewhere new.

But I miss looking at them. I miss my bookshelves, yes, my lovely bookshelves, but mostly I miss my beautiful books and how, together, they were a portrait of me.  

* I'm on my iPad, there is will be no fancy formatting like hyperlinks.