Monday, October 31, 2011

Too Many Books

I have too many books. There, I've said it.

This morning, I was home on my first day off in six months that wasn't a public holiday or taken off for a funeral, and I am surrounded by books. My lounge room floor was covered with the buggers. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with all of them, other than sort through them, tidy them and get rid of a few, but I was determined that by the time Iwent to see Pinochet at 7 pm, my lounge would be cleared, hoovered and tidied - and there would be a pile of books for the Salvation Army or whatever Op shop I find first.

This is what I started with:

Sod knows how many books I took off from the shelves, which were then washed down and left to dry, eliminating over a year's worth of dust. I think I washed the shelves down at the start of the year, but I did it shelf by shelf.

The next task - get rid of some stuff. There had to be over 1000 books sitting on my floor - some of them had to go - they just had to - along with all sorts of other stuff that's collected on my shelves, like a full medicine cabinet of over-the-counter drugs, my collection of elephants brought back from India by various friends and other trinkets, like my little iron statue of Sarasvati, found in a Thai antique shop. (If you're going to India or somewhere in Asia or Africa, please bring me back an elephant - just a little one - I like them)

There are just some things that wont and can't go. In particular, my collection of Shakespeares and one of my favorite possessions - my William Shakespeare action figure that a dear friend gave me. My friend, a bit of a Dr Who tragic - so much so that he has a real Dalek in his bedroom, knows where to go action figures. I've got a lot of stick for this little guy over the years. He stays.

Reference books stays. Books on quotes, English Grammar, Latin, Greek, French, getting published, Saints, books on Judaism, the Kabbalah... they stay. They get referred to a lot, just like the Shakespeares.

The plays and poetry stay. Again, used for reference and inspiration on a regular basis. They have to stay - along with my collection of short story anothologies - they're there for inspiration - for one day I'd love if one of my short stories made it into an anthology. I've had a number of short stories published in the past - it's something I'd love to get into again.

The Harry Potters, Lemony Snickets and Artemis Fowls stay - they all get read annually, being a kid's book officianado. And I also found my edition of "Miss Cottington's Book of Pressed Fairies" signed by Terry Jones. If I need a giggle, this is one place I turn. You see, Miss Cottington decided to trap fairies in a big book and press them for all eternity. It's only when Terry Jones of Monty Python found this wonderful book did it's full glory come to light.

I've got the old favorites, and the favorite authors, which can't go - and now the Sebastian Faulks, Margaret Atwoods, Louis de Bernieres, Richard Flanagans, Geraldine Brooks, Robertson Davies, David Mitchells and Annie Proulxs are together on the shelf, where they should be. There are a lot of other books that that I just love and can't part with. Volumes like American Psycho, The Princess Bride, my books by Helen McDonald, who writes on human disection and remains (fascinating woman).

There's also the big books that sit behind me. A lot of reference books on aromatherapy, anatomy and English Cathedrals. They stay too. A lot of my history is tied up in these books. Books on gargolyles and misericords, books on sexuality, sensuality, women's issues...

The most esoteric book I found - ther than my volume of Geoff Nicholson's "Footsucker" (Fabulous book - don't know whether to be titillated or turned right off). It would have to be my pictorial book on body piercing. This is one of the milder shots.

I've also got a lot of my books from university, a heap of Clive James books that I want to read and see if they're still funny. There's a shelf of stuff that I haven't read yet that I will have to get around to one day.

Sooooo many books - so little time. Though with the exception of book group books, I'm not allowed to buy any more until a few more have been read - and disposed of.

Thankfully, Mack came round about lunch time for a chat and a wander. He works just up the road. I donated a bag of witchy magazines, astrology cards and amethyst dragons that I've been pondering what to do with for ages. His daughters, aged 16, 12 and 8 will love them.

There's a supermarket shopper filled with things I no longer want. Strangely, there are mainly diet books - the Zone, Atkins etc. They can go to the Salvos.

I have another small pile of books to be put on ebay. Commercial success that might bring in a few dollars. Trinny and Susannah are ebay fodder - right. And those bloody Paulo Coelho's - it's taken me 20 years to get to page twenty of The Alchemist, I don't think I've got any chance of finishing it in the next twenty years.

The rest - are now neatly back on the shelves.

I rue the day whem I'm forced to get an e-reader. Books are so much a part of me.

I just wish that they didn't collect so much dust!

So my day off is nearly over. A ten kilometre run, a session with Pinochet out the way, a day of really good eating - as in back in the star calendar regime to get back into weight loss mode in a last ditch effort to make my goal for the year. I can do it.

It's been a good day.



Days without ice cream:  10

A Little Touch of Harry

Sleep deeply, young Prince.
The days of awestruck wonder
Are numbered with your soldiers
Demands for commission and rest.
Days of roaming fields,
Green with innocence, with life,
With the hopes of a misled,
Misunderstood land, will leave you
Longing for a simpler time.
The table thumping rhythms
Of the tavern nights,
Imbedded with straw, vomit, ale
Replaced by the beat
Of marching armies footfalls,
Swordplay, falling maces,
Broken carotid arteries,
Pumping the souls out of home fed,
Inbred, naïve followers.
Rest in your sack lined hovel,
Warmed by women you’ll have to forget,
Enveloping the ambrosia
Laws will deny you,
Conscience will forbid you,
For one last, lonely, unregretted time.
Elysium has no place for the powerful
To roam in peaceful, fulfilling bliss.
Your imaginary Agincourts
Will too soon be all too real.

(I'll admit that this was written a few years ago and published in the Mozzie around 2003 - a bit too tired to write - but being surrounded by literature all day, a poem about a Shakespearean character seemed apt)


The Elephant's Child said...

Too many books is a refrain echoed here. And I weaken and add to them often.

River said...

I LOVE that Pressed Fairies book! I don't have a copy, but I saw the one my daughter bought and gave as a Christmas gift.
Put all the unread ones in a stack or two beside your bed and start working through them.
In my house the plays and poetry would be long gone. They're just not my thing.

Kath Lockett said...

You need to go and visit my friend Franzy - have something in common!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

That's a lot of books. I am going to invest in a Kindle (when a decent one comes out next year) because at least it will stop me having to think of excuses for not throwing them out to Mrs PM.