Here are two Shelfies I took yesterday and posted on Facebook for World Book Day. I loved all that – getting to glance along other people’s bookcases and to hear about what they’re reading right now. These two bookcases are in our dining room – which is the room I’ve been working in for the past six months during all the upheavals that have been happening to our house…
In fact – these two bookcases are the only ones in use at our house right now. All the other thousands of books are in boxes, stacked up everywhere. In some ways, though, these shelves are the heart of the house and my library. This is where ‘Maybe the Moon’ and the ‘Secret Garden’ and ‘The Box of Delights’ are; here’s where you’ll find ‘The Dark is Rising’, ‘Wise Children’, ‘Kafka on the Shore’ and ‘Shadow of the Wind.’
When all the soot fell through our house last October, coating so much stuff and damaging some things beyond repair, and when chunks of ceiling lay everywhere in black oily hunks of rubble, we kept getting disapproving remarks from the men who came to inspect the damage about how many books we had. Like it was anything to do with them!
It struck me that maybe people don’t have quite as many books in every room of their homes as we do.
I couldn’t change, though. I couldn’t suddenly go all minimalist and read only books that exist virtually. I love my e-books, as you know (not least for bringing things back into print) but they are ghostly books. When we read them we are communicating with ghosts. When we have real books in our hands or in heaps around the house or colourful rows on shelves – then we’re talking about actual people.
So… the sooty disaster of October 2013 didn’t make me want to have a less bookish home. Not at all. What it did do was remind me of the books that I already own, and how there are so many that I’ve been meaning to get around to. I guess that’s what’s fuelling my two reading projects of the year – ‘A Hundred Years of Paperbacks’ and ‘The Beach House Books.’ They’re both about reading everything that’s already here.
It’s about all those rainy days and sunny afternoons come at once.
What I can’t wait to do is to take advantage of longer and warmer days in spring and summer. I can’t wait to go and lie on the bed settee in the Beach House and read a few afternoons away. That’s when the real, day-dreaming work goes on around here. And Bernard Socks loves it, too – having some company at the bottom of the garden in the afternoon. He loves Beach House days as much as Fester ever did, though Fester loved lying still for longer. Bernard Socks is very keen on climbing up trees as fast as he can and vaulting all the tallest fences.
I hope you had a good World Book Day. What were you reading? I finished ‘The First Men in the Moon’ by HG Wells and I’m still thinking about it, as I move onto ‘My Brilliant Career’ by Miles Franklin.
Have a brilliant weekend reading.