Abibliophobia – the fear of running out of reading material…
Some overwhelming evidence has been accumulating recently suggesting that I might….might…have a bit of a problem.
First, back in July, my husband took this picture of my bedside table.
I get why this is bad, obviously. First off, it was really difficult to get into the wardrobe. And it’s a terrible way to store books because if you decide you want to read one of the ones near the bottom, it’s such a faff trying to get it out without getting trapped under the resulting landslide.
If my arm was twisted really hard, I sort of knew it was a sign of a larger issue but truth was I really needed all of those books and anyway at least 5 were library books and therefore one day going back to live somewhere else.
Since we moved in just over a year ago, a lot of slow-burn doing up and DIY has been going on. As a result, I never did completely sort out my books as I promised I would in the move. I mean, I got rid of a few while packing but if I’m honest it was half-hearted at best. So when I recently found myself with a lighter working week and a recently decorated and still largely empty room available, I decided to put all my books in one place and tackle them once and for all.
This is what happened.
Those boxes are full by the way. It’s not like the books in front of them are the books that came out of them. I can’t even get everything in one shot. And I think I took the pictures before I was completely finished and ran out of floor space. I didn’t count them but a conservative estimate based on the average number of books in a box/pile put me somewhere in the region of 600-700. Eeesh.
Being realistic, I’ll never stop acquiring books. But I’m glad I’m doing this (yup, still going. It looks better but there’s a way to go). Lessons I have learned include:
- You don’t need to keep every book you read. Just the ones that you think you might read again, or those that are sentimental or ‘speak’ to you in some way. (I appreciate how that last point sounds but anyone who loves and regularly acquires books will know that there are some books that just belong in your library but you can’t always explain why.)
- You should really keep unread books together so you can see on a regular basis just how many there are.
- Knowing how many unread books you have at home is an excellent moderator when you’re out and about and get the urge to ‘acquire’.
- I have some REALLY GOOD BOOKS that are sort of lost on my shelves and I’m very excited about reading them.
- I feel much more in control of my books when they’re vaguely organised (now by category, although definitely not alphabetically or by colour – urgh).
- I love books.
- A lot.
There’s a box in the hall that’s almost full of books to give away and I reckon I have another box in me. I also know that I won’t keep all the unread books once they’re read, so there will be more shelf-clearing to come. And I feel really positive about how I’ll make decisions on which books to buy and most importantly keep in the years to come. Now I don’t just have books, I have a library.
And I definitely don’t have a problem.