amongst books

amongst books

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the ritual of book shelf arrangement


recently Charles & I purchased more book shelves. this was necessary because our books were spilling out all over the place & many of them were relegated to our en suite storage & closet years ago. to closet a book is a cruel & dastardly act. they've been crying to come out of the closet.

new shelves necessitate some rearrangement. in our office we have a set of four tall IKEA Billy bookcases that are filled primarily with books of poetry, fiction, dictionaries, memoires & biographies, essays & reference books of all kinds plus literary periodicals that I have been in or that I subscribe to. in our ensuite storage we have two tall shelving units, devoted primarily to Bywords storage. My vast library of poetry is steadily taking over our office shelving & that's ok, good even.
the new shelves are short Billy book cases & have been placed in the front hallway, the living room & the bedroom. the bedroom houses our prodigious smut collection & my journals, which go back twenty  years. the living room had only one set of shelves beforehand & much of that is filled with Charles' photography gear & I am grateful that this means I am not completely monopolizing the shelves & besides this enables him to house some fantastic toys such as several Polaroids, which inspire his creativity. in the living room up to now we've also kept cookbooks, photography books, short story collections & health books, but now I can move all the fiction to the front hallway so that guests can see what's available to own or borrow, depending on how precious it is to me.

I am oddly particular about where books can be placed. for instance, I moved John Lavery's books to the living room. Since two out of three of them were short story collections, I put all of them in that section. I couldn't bear the idea of separating them into novel & short stories. Also, since John recommended to me the wonderful novel "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy, I always keep her book beside his. I cannot bring myself to change that placement. It is the only book that he recommended to me.
My precious Robertson Davies collection of novels & essays remains in my office, including the copy of the Cunning Man that he autographed for me here at the National Library just a few short weeks before he died. Robertson Davies is the reason I wanted to write fiction. I love his wit, his puns & his ability to spin a good yarn, particularly in "the Depford Trilogy." There's no way I can put those books in the living room with the other fiction because I need him here, for inspiration.

Books are more than just something I read, they are a life giving force of imagination, play & insight that I need in order to be creative, heck I need them in order to be. I love having this Kindle e-book reader, it is very fun to be able to read any book I want, anywhere I go, but the accessibility of its infinite virtual shelves will never cause me to stop buying physical books, nor will it take away my desire to be surrounded by them.

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