Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Confessions of a Bookaholic.




After 20 years, we are selling our family home, half our 6 children have moved out so we're buying something smaller.
This means we will have to halve our furniture.

I thought I'd start with my books. Thirty years ago, I had a secondhand bookstore, where I sat all day do nothing but reading. (Customers? Who needs them?). I was a bit like Bernard Black from Black Books, if you know the British TV show.

It was heaven. Anything that looked interesting, I read. And, if I liked it, I kept it. This meant that I kept acquiring books. And when I left the bookstore and came to Brisbane, I had the book habit. I kept buying books.

So I have been brutal. I've gone through 3 of my six foot book shelves and halved my books. This half are going to the markets, where my daughter will sell them.

There are still more book shelves to go through and I may yet have to halve the remaining half that I've decided to keep.

Of course, with shelves that are empty, the temptation is to run out and buy more books. I've only bought two in the last week. One on Art Deco and one on Art Nouveau. I mean, how could I not buy them?

Do you have to be a writer to love books? Being able to wander through books, grazing for information and interesting facts ...

Time for confessions. Who else is a bookaholic????

30 comments:

Brendan said...

Me, Me!

My mum is in your predicament at the moment too, rationalising the collection. Her moment of revelation came when she got carpet laid and had to move all the bookshelves for the carpet layers. 35 odd boxes of books later, she decided some of them had to go! She is keeping plies for us to pick out what we want(I got the Faraway tree books-with the original character names!)

John Lambshead said...

Sigh, I used to be a bookoholic but my children are all grown up and my wife and I intend to move to a smaller house.

So the books and my vast toy soldier collection had to go. I discovered that books are valueless but toy soldiers can be sold on eBay.

John

Kate said...

Me too... I've had to do two major culls so far. One when I was moving from Oz the the US (Something like half my books, all my - much treasured - ElfQuest comics, all my periodicals except Australian Geographic. It was horrible), and again after moving to PA when I finally worked up the courage to eliminate the duplicates between hubby's collection and mine, and - the horror! - removed a number of books I knew we'd never read again.

What's truly sad is the number of times we go through a bookstore and come out with... nothing. When bookaholics do that, somethine is wrong.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Oh definitely putting my had up for this one. I have just so many books that I have that I haven't read yet. I don't yet have to move, so the collection is safe - for now :))

Good luck with the culling Rowena.

matapam said...

I started out poor, living half in the library. Then I started acquiring. Culled when I moved, just the books I knew I could replace, I mean, Tarzan will be in print forever, right? Never did replace them.

So now culling means, which books go in to boxes. ;) Room on my shelves _and_ I can dig out an old favorite at need.

My buying has slowed, however. Partly all the slush reading, but mainly because I buy online, and don't browse for hours anymore.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Brendan,

I feel for your mum. I'm in the same position.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

John,

I've told my husband he'll have to rationalise his comic collection. He's held onto them since he was a teenager.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kate,

Moving half way around the world is one way to make sure you don't accumulate too many books!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Eleni,

Enjoy your books while you can!

Amanda Green said...

My name is Amanda and I'm a bookaholic. It's been twenty three hours, fifteen seconds since I last bought a book.

As Sarah can tell you, I have built in bookshelves in what is euphemistically called the study. My desk is covered with books and the shelves multi-layered with them. Books are piled in the corners of the bedrooms and in several closets and under the beds. I have boxes of them in the garage. And that is after a major culling a couple of years ago. Beyond the convenience of e-books, the very fact that storage isn't a problem is one factor that works in their favor in my house. Right now, some of the stacks are so big and so closely resemble the leaning tower of Pisa that even the cat won't go near them for fear of her life. ;-p

C Kelsey said...

When I moved across the country the moving company packed for me. Something like 14 boxes. At least 8 of those boxes were nothing but books. And I keep collecting more, and more, and more...

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Amanda,

You know you are a bookaholic, when you build another room to put your books in.

Sounds like you are nearly there!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kelsey,

The problem with books is that they are heavy. They go through the bottom of boxes.

C Kelsey said...

Too true, Rowena.

Ellyll said...

Yes, I am a book addict. Even worse, I'm affecting the next generation.

It's so sad when these things run rampant through families. ;)

Da Curly Wolf said...

heh. I'm a bit of a bookaholic myself. Like you I only keep what I enjoy. otherwise if I payed for it and hate it..it goes to the used bookstore.
Then I've got ones that are the out of print now, books that I keep an eye out for. When I go to the used bookstores.

Anonymous said...

::raises hand:: Me, me, me! We have books and then we have more books. I'm hoping however to remedy this physical space quandry.

Steve got me a Nook for Christmas which I share (generously, I might add) with Erica. We both love it! The books we buy can all stay in this little device for the future.

I've only had it a week (there was a six week waiting period when he ordered it), but I can definitely see the possibilities for me to be able to read more and faster. Not that we don't have more than enough books to keep me busy for a long while, but you know how book-hoarding goes.

I never had the book I was reading when I had a chance to read, so I grabbed another one and started it. I would end up reading several books at once, and I felt completely unaccomplished in my reading as far as finishing one goes. As long as the Nook is either in the house or in the car with me though, I have ALL of my current reads available.

I'm starting to get the twitchies over the lack of physical books however (withdrawal symptoms, I think). It is a real adjustment to not having the books around when you're done with them to touch and gaze upon on your bookshelf with satisfaction.

But I think I value the ease of reading now more than loving the physical books. I will continue to have books in the house and buy hard copies (not all novels I want to read are available in e-book yet...like Darkship Thieves that I recently looked for), but maybe we'll be able to get through the hallway without knocking books off the shelf.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Ellyl,

I took my 6 children to the shops one school holiday and treated them to milkshakes and donuts (an expensive business with 6 kids).

The 8 year old looked over at the bookshop and sighed and said, 'I'd rather have books than food.'

Bless him!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Curly Wolf,

As someone who ran a secondhand bookstore, we survived because of people like you, recycling books.

You know they say every book is read 5 times, passed from person to person.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Anonymous, is that you, Linda?

I usually keep a couple of books on the run. One by the bed, one in the car for when I'm waiting to pick the kids up from somewhere.

I understand the theory of the E-book, and it looks good in principle but the E-readers aren't readily available in Australia.

Besides, as you say, there is something to be said for having the book on the shelf and, when you are looking for something to re-read the physical book and cover triggers memories.

Chris McMahon said...

Absolutely. I have so many books already and more just keep coming. I try to hold back the onslaught, but without too much success.

What I would really love is one of those old fashioned libraries with the floor to ceiling shelves two storys in height - with the wooden ladder on the rails and the deep leather chairs. Well I can dream on. . .

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Chris,

I think we'd all love a library like that, and a butler to bring us a good brandy/hot drink while we're reading.

Brendan said...

Chris, That's what I want too.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Rowena! That WAS me. Little ol' me. Who forgot to sign her post.

Anonymous said...

And again! Argh....

Linda (notice how this post is signed?)

Da Curly Wolf said...

Rowena, I try. Now if I could just find one of the ones I've been looking for, for years.....

Da Curly Wolf said...

Chris,
Old fashioned library? me too! me too? don't forget the fireplace to sit in front of on cold nights, an ashtray and a humidor full of good cigars for yours truly. :)

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Fireplace, oooh.

I'd love to live somewhere that was cool enough to need a fireplace!

Da Curly Wolf said...

Rowena, it's the one gripe I have about my house. And what with the 5 day freeze we had down here in Texas...It would have been nice to spend those days in front of a roaring fire on a really big bean bag chair alternating between reading and snoozing.

WangZheng259 said...

Yes, but I have a less impressive collection.