Monday, November 9, 2009

Musing Monday...and The Case of Incredible Shrinking Bookcase

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post, as always from the inquiring mind of Rebecca at Just one more page, is about your bookshelf…
Does your house have a communal bookshelf? If not, is your bookshelf centrally located so everyone has access to it?

Well, since I am the only person in the house, yes, I would consider my bookcases communal. Everyone that lives here in the domicile of caite, The Hovel, has total access 24/7/365 to all books. Of course, I do also allow my imaginary kitty, Kitty, full use of all my books, but she does not appear to be a reader. Which is probably all for the best.

Bookshelves are a nice thing in theory, but often inadequate in practice. I don't blame the bookshelves. I don't blame the books. I blame me.
I have said it before, but I really do need to get my books under control. Some time ago, I bought nice new bookcases for my family room (can it be a 'family' room if you live alone?) and took the opportunity to organize all my books, joining Library Thing at the same time. All neat and organized, all so very, very nice. That lasted a few weeks. It was a special time.

Things starting getting out of control when I started blogging. I started requesting and receiving ARCs, winning the odd contest, took authors and publicists up on their offers of books here and there. But things were still pretty much ok. Then I started reading more of my fellow bloggers, reading their reviews of books and authors I had never heard of before, reading more book periodicals online and being compelled by uncontrollable forces to search out copies of too, too many of these recommended books. I discovered the world of used books online. That was the beginning of the end.

Bookshelves gave way to overcrowded bookshelves.
Overcrowded bookshelves gave way to book piles.
A TBR pile, an ARC pile, a library book pile, read/reviewed book piles, a to-be- reviewed book pile, a received-but-yet-to-be-entered-in-Library Thing-then-to-join-the-TBR-pile-pile...
All also communally located. In fact, too communally located, in that I see them all the time. Which is the problem.

Granted, book piles are nicer than other sorts of piles, like piles of dirty dishes or piles of old newspapers, but they are piles nevertheless. I am heartened by seeing the photos and hearing the discussions of other bloggers with similar overstuffed bookcases evolving into numerous book piles. Heartened until I actually look at mine again. I have said that I find my TBR pile to be comforting, the idea that if I could not get my hands on another book, I would have enough on hand to last me for several years. That is true and it does give me a warm and fuzzy feeling...I just need to find a place to actually put them, but unless I do some creative thinking, I am out of shelf space.

Now, there is actually the options of getting rid of some of these books.
Maybe stop acquiring any new ones.
But the seems just a little extreme, doesn't it?


  1. well, i'm very happy to be the first to comment. even if it does perturb me some that today is SUNDAY and not monday.

    i wish i had an overflowing bookcase, but books in italian are hard to come by. my mom (who happens to read books in english) has an overflowing bookcase but that may be because there are some game and dvds and cookbooks stored in the mix. however, i think you should feel LUCKY to have all those books when i have none : ( !!!!

    mom says she wishes you were here for marinated grilled chicken and twice backed potatoes and a new episode of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM!!! : ( we will both be back to NJ soon : )!!!

  2. Bandit, tell your mom that she has converted me to watching Curb...and since I was the last person in the universe to sign up for Netflix, I can now get old episodes to watch from there. After I watch several other series...

    Bandit, is that what you want for Christmas, books in Italian? I could do it.

  3. Caite - big fan of Curb here. My favorite episode is one involving a hooker and the commuter lane.

    But on the Bookshelf topic, I have begun putting overflowing books in nice wicker baskets lined with fabric. They can be slid out of the way easily enough into closets or under the bed, but they aren't that unsightly if left out. And you could have a different basket for the different categories - such as ARC, TBR, etc.

  4. Well, being the crazy book lady is better than being the crazy cat lady ... but with your imaginary Kitty, you might have that title wrapped up too!

    And remember, you can NEVER have too many books. It isn't the size of the books, it is the size of your house. I think a move is in order ... perhaps to a warehouse.

  5. well Bumbles, the baskets may indeed look better...but most of those suggested hiding place are already used. Maybe I just need less stuff all around!

    Jenners, I think if I hold to just one imaginary cat I will be ok. And I will, because Kitty is a very jealous imaginary kitty.

    I think....

  6. I enjoy having books everywhere too. That's why I won't consider a Kindle...yet.

  7. Hmmm, Caite, sometimes you just need to let some things go. You get to look forward to replacing them with new ones. That's the best part! Going north with us will be 3 big plastic storage bins filled with books to give away. After giving 2 shopping bags of books to a visiting friend also, I actually have a few empty shelves now to start filling up again, guilt free, mind you. Oh, the joy of that.

  8. I like the comfy feel of your library (referring to past photo's) My books are currently homeless and I've shown your pictures to my husband to give him an idea what I want my library to look like when its done. (including the stacks) You could always make one of those handy, dandy book end tables.

  9. Hi!
    I have the same problem. Different piles around the house. They seem to be like bunnies, multiplying on their own. Have a great day!

    Just Books

  10. don't get me started on the Evil Kindle! lol

    Kaye, so you are saying I should give some away? In theory, I agree, but I have separation anxiety.

    kaye, I read about your soon to be bookcases. books with a home are so happy...and so are their owners.

    Sherrie, book bunnies! that explains it!

  11. I have gotten rid of books in the past, on two occasions I got rid of nearly my entire collection by donating it all to the local library. I have regretted both purges ever since. Keep your books. The warehouse sounds like the best solution so far!

  12. I don't think it's possible to stop acquiring books.

  13. I think it seems very extreme to stop acquiring new books, but it's certainly something I should be thinking about...just thinking, not really doing anything.


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