“Oh no.” said Surinder, coming to the door and folding her arms over her rather ample bosom…’You’re not bringing them in here. Absolutely not.”
“It’s just…I mean, they’re in perfect condition.”
“It’s not that,’ said Surinder. ‘And don’t give me that look, like I’m turning away orphans.”
“Well, in a way…,” said Nina, trying not to look too pleading.
“The joists of the house won’t take it, Nina! I’ve told you before.”
…Anyway, Surinder was looking furious, and worst of all, she was right. When it came to books, there simply wasn’t the space. There were books everywhere. Books on the landing, books on the stairs, books filling Nina’s room completely, books carefully filed in the sitting room, books in the loo, just in case. Nina always liked to feel that Little Women was close by in a crisis.
“But I can’t leave them out in the cold,” she pleaded.
“Nina, it’s a load of DEAD WOOD! Some of which smells!”
Surinder’s expression didn’t change as she looked severely as Nina. “Nina, I’m calling it. This is getting totally out of hand. You’re packing up the library all week. It will just get worse and worse.”
She stepped forward and grabbed a huge romance Nina adored from the top of the pile.
“Look at this! You already have it.”
“Yes, I know, but this is the hardback first edition. Look! It’s beautiful! Never been read!”
“And it won’t be read either, because your reading piles are taller than I am!” (from The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan pages 6-7)
I once bought a pin that said “I am a bookaholic. If you are a decent person you will not sell me another book.” The person who sold me that pin was not a decent person. I know this because the pin was sitting atop a stack of books that I was purchasing from her. It will come as no surprise to anyone that this exchange early in the The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan drew me in and assured me that I was going to love Nina. I identified immediately with her. I understood her. I am sure that we are related. If I had to do what Nina is doing at this point in the book (packing up and closing a library), there would be no spot in my house where you could walk without tripping over a book. I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as too many books – there are just too few bookshelves. A month or so ago I bought three new bookshelves, and I immediately had no empty book shelves again. Will this stop me from buying books? Is this really a question worthy of an answer?
I was packing to move years ago. The moving company representative saw my home and the boxes I had packed. “Lady, those boxes better not be filled with books. We won’t be able to move them” came the challenge. To which I responded that none of those boxes were too heavy for me to lift. Every box I packed started with a layer of books.
My own mother questioned whether I really needed all these books. But I pointed out to her that she should be happy that she raised such a daughter. If I had to have an addiction, shouldn’t she be glad it was books? I could be addicted to harmful things like drugs or alcohol. I could spend all of my time doing questionable things, hanging out in bars, running around with a fast crowd, committing the crimes I read about in all those books! There are many things that would be worse than my book habit.
Oprah Winfrey said, “Some women have a weakness of shoes. I can go barefoot if necessary. I have a weakness for books.” It isn’t a cheap addiction necessarily, but I’m sure it is cheaper than the drugs or alcohol. There are times, however, that I start considering how much money was spent filling all of those bookshelves and I chastise myself. But then I’m reminded of how much I love having those around. My home is comfortable to me because it is filled with books, blankets, coffee & mugs, and places to curl up and read. It is what creates the sense of hygee for my home. And I smile contentedly because I have created this space where I belong.