Christmas is pretty much history and the New Year beckons, whether we are prepared or not. For many the week between these two experiences is one of the few times when chaos is allowed to reign, but a certain order has to be brought in too, otherwise the one event will overshadow the other, and we won’t have been able to recover before diving back into the depths of celebration and fun. For me, sitting on a pile of new books – Christmas always seems to enhance my small library – it is time to consider what I want to do with all these volumes of knowledge, how I should store them and, just as important, where. The thing is, I have very few bookshelves, and considerably more books than I can ever hope to slot into a special place.
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Perhaps I should have decided upon a different sphere for my collecting? I don’t think so! We all have our little foibles, and literature is mine, all mine. But what to do with them all? It’s not as if I have a great deal of room but, on the other hand, I don’t have bookshelves on every single wall, yet.
What I do have are stacks. When I first arrived here there was plenty of open space and movement was easy. You went straight from one room into the next without any form of hindrance. Things have changed over the last few years. I have bought many, many new titles and had a whole mess of books sent over which would otherwise have been sitting in boxes back home. Perhaps I am going to need those books, I thought to myself, and, what is the point of having them when they aren’t here? I don’t part with books that easily.
And then there is the problem of finding them all. Take my small collection on Cicero, for example. Ten books on Cicero may not seem like many, but then another one came to join them and a few things had to be reorganized; it’s better to have them all together in one place. Now, my Christmas presents opened and all, there are another three. Plus other books by other authors. Reorganize again, or add to a stack, or hope that I can find one title in one room and then the next in another? My little ‘office’ cannot cope. Cicero is only one example, there is also Virgil, Plato (slowly growing), Quintilian and there will be others. There are modern authors, textbooks, history books, art books, and so much fiction and other forms of literature it’s hard to say what I enjoy reading the most. They all belong together.
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And by together I don’t mean in the same stack in a corner. I mean together on a shelf, where I can see and find them easily, where they don’t take up so much floor space and stop people from getting through a doorway into the next room, don’t tumble over when a door inadvertently slams shut or is pushed open that little bit too far.
I have something else I need to consider too: I don’t live alone here. Fine, officially it is my apartment, my name is on the renting contract, I am the one who takes the blame when things go wrong or when something needs to be repaired or replaced, but that is different. She needs to be able to move around the apartment unhindered too, and needs to have room for all the things that she owns. Not that we have problems with my overwhelming possessions compared to her few things, but still. And there is another thing…
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what about when we have guests? What about when several other people come to visit and need to move around, somehow navigate the chaos?
No, the new year is going to have to be one of order over chaos, of bookshelves over stacks, of sorting through and placing out-of-the-way. I don’t make resolutions normally, but I guess, just this one time, I’m going to have to make one and see that I keep it. Because I am not parting with my books, nor am I likely to buy fewer. A form of compromise? Perhaps. Or perhaps just a step forward.
It’s either that or find a new apartment with more floorspace…
Love & Kisses, Viki.