Monday, August 02, 2010

Friends at Home: Saving Books from Extermination

Yesterday I found myself at my mom's house looking in her bookcases for something. I started scanning and just stopped. Time slowed down for me as my eyes spied all the familiar spines that I knew as a child. The colors of the covers, the lettering of the titles, the authors all seemed to hold me in a grip.

I was home.

I was magically transported to that special place in my heart that holds all the warmth of All Things Favorite. It's no wonder that I refer to books as my "friends." I want to be surrounded by them and if I had my way, I'd have bookshelves on every wall.

My husband doesn't share this belief with me. When we moved into this house he said he didn't want bookcases. Something about them looking cluttered and he made the proclamation a finality. I have one bookcase in my dining room, and he's absolutely right about the cluttered-ness of it. Since it's really the only bookcase upstairs (dedicated to books and not DVDs) any spare books that are laying around get shoved into this thing. Sometimes they make their way downstairs instead.

Downstairs, all the books are hidden. I have two rolling flat boxes under my bed where I keep some books. I have a huge pile right next to my bed underneath my nightstand. In our crawl space we have boxes upon boxes that I cataloged last summer (complete waste of time, most likely) and the ones that get read get tucked into all sorts of nooks and crannies in the storage area with not a hope of rediscovery. And then there is my office. My office, (also in the crawlspace) - and soon to be sewing room! - has bookshelves lining the back of it. These are organized by type. I have writing reference materials, parenting books, books on motherhood and feminism, and one case devoted to books I'd like to read. Probably. Or books that I don't want to lose in the shuffle.

In a sick sort of way, due to my husband's ban on bookcases, I get a secret pleasure out of his not being able to find books to lend to people (mostly travel books) because he can't find them. As much as he would like to just get rid of them all, I am holding on. Perhaps I'm a hoarder, but I like to think it has more to do with that feeling of being home when I meet an old "friend" again after not seeing it for a long time. Just touching the cover or reading the title retrieves the story and I relive the memory. I am transported.


hokgardner said...

Now that we are looking at moving, I think I'm going to insist that we get a house with built in bookshelves. We've filled all the shelves in the bedrooms as well as shelves in my closet. And now books are afford in corners and shoved under beds.

I love all of my books and don't feel right when I'm separated from them.

ckh said...

I know! Sometimes I think that if my husband doesn't keep a close eye on me I'm going to sneak them into the house.

And sure, they're heavy, but easy to move because they don't break!

i love lamp said...

i just love your mom's bookshelves!! or i guess i should say i love all the books on them... i have to disagree that books can be clutter. crowded maybe. clutter never. :)

we had one room set up as kind of a library when we first moved in, but then the duckings came and they had to go somewhere! the books got stacked in the corner, the shelves came out and the brooder went in. now that room is just the catch all for junk. i think it's time to fix that, thanks for the inspiration!