I was checking my collection of books recently and realised the number does not seem to have gone up or down in recent years, and as life goes on I find books I want to read now but know I still have books to be read.
I do make good use of local charity shops to offload excess books, ones I am not likely to read again, even if I did enjoy them. I may take in 20 or so books at a time but I am just as likely to add four or five to my collection when something in the charity shop captures my attention.
It seems strange to think that when I moved into the first home of my own, a corporation flat in Basildon which I think was on the ninth floor, I had a three-shelf bookcase and my book collection did not even fill that.
Within a week I had discovered the weekly outdoor market and there I found an array of second hand books from Lenin’s Little Library to the old orange cover Penguins, fiction and non-fiction, and even hardbacks in good condition but cheap.
The stall – well it was the equivalent of three stalls – had paperbacks and hardbacks, thrillers and romances, politics and historical tomes as well, in fact just about anything you want.
My bookcase was soon full and I put up shelves in the spare room to take the overflow. By the time I left, not much more than 18 months after my arrival, I needed a packing case to take all my books.
I stored it at my parents’ place while I was on tour, along with bits of furniture etc., and a suitcase of clothes. Once life became settled, some time after I said goodbye to Harry, Toabs, Sooty, Sweep, Soo and Lawrence, the books came out of store and gradually increased as My Muse Marion is also a lover of books, just not to the same extent as me. I hate to get rid of books in case I want to read them again.
Some of the books have been to Australia with us and the collection increased during our stay. Most were left in store during the two years in the Middle East but once back in the UK they were out and on the shelves again. Luckily our home in Prestatyn had a spare room I could turn into a library/study.
Nowadays the majority of my books are in the loft but I do know precisely where they are, well as near as damn it.
For instance I recently went up to the loft to put the Camillieri (Montalbano) books into store until I am ready to read them again. In return I brought down some of my family history books to remind me of bits I might have forgotten about during my research break.
I also have a full set of Walter Scott’s Waverley novels, my edition having been published late 19th early 20th century. These will have to wait for a while because I have to tuck into a similar set of Dickens’ works which I intend reading over the next year as soon as I decide which one to start with. I am debating on a choice between A Tale of Two Cities, Hard Times or The Pickwick Papers. I will let you know how it goes.
I have plenty of choice of other authors if I want to take a short break in my Charles Dickens marathon.