I have decided to change one of the rooms in my house. I am going to get a carpenter to build two wall to wall, floor to ceiling sets of bookshelves. I will have the bureau that I had custom built to my design years ago against one wall and the Yamaha upright piano that we bought last year against the other wall. I will have two comfy armchairs with a matching footstool in the middle, each with a reading light behind. This will be my room; books, music and writing in one perfect place.
I have never had enough shelf space for all of my books. Over the years I have had to cull my collection periodically and I am now regretting sending some of those treasures to the charity shop. I don’t miss the trash novels or the autobiographies that I once thought I might find interesting but never did. However, I so regret giving away some of the children’s books that my three had grown too old for.
I mean, I had the original Famous Five series where the girls go off to make the tea. It’s not that I want my boys to think that this is what girls are for, but I object to anyone messing with an author’s work. If you don’t like the way a book is written then fine, don’t read that author, don’t recommend it, but don’t change it! I loved Enid Blyton as a child and so did my daughter. She makes the tea for no one but herself.
And what possessed me to give away ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘Owl Babies’? Those books are fabulous. I guess we just didn’t have enough space to store all of the boxes we would have needed had we held on to every book that I endlessly read to my growing kids. The bookshelves in their rooms have always been overstuffed; sometimes we just had to clear them out and let go.
Not any more though. I am going to have so much storage space for books that I will have to go on a buying spree just to fill up those shelves; what a joyful prospect! I am making lists, reading reviews, noting down recommendations from friends. I am planning how I will organise the books that we will have; how I will separate fiction and non fiction, children’s and adult’s.
My room will be my haven; my escape from reality. It has a walk through to our family room and my daughter and I played with the idea of filling this in with double sided bookshelves and a ‘secret’ opening. What fun that would be. I can only guess at how much a carpenter would charge for such a novelty, but I suspect he may enjoy the commission. It would, however, rob the internal room of natural light. We will leave the walk through as it is; I do not wish to cut myself off from my family entirely.
The ordinary bookshelves that are currently in this room have been claimed by my elder son for his bedroom. The shelves he currently has will move to his sister’s room. Everyone will end up with more storage space for their precious reading material. I am so happy that my children share my love of books, particularly when they enjoy one that I have recommended and we can discuss what we liked and why. However much I exasperate these developing young adults with my inability to grasp and appreciate their emerging ideologies and reasoning, we can share the pleasure to be found in the fictional worlds and characters that we discover between the pages of our many good books.
As with any home project that I decide to go ahead with, I am now impatient for work to begin. I will then be even more impatient for it to be completed. When it is done and I am organising my collection for display, which books would you recommend for inclusion?