I got this bookshelf from my mom for my mother a few years back as a birthday present. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Billy bookcase, but the simplistic and beautiful design of this one just makes me happy whenever I look at it. Of course, it’s what’s inside that counts for the most.
At the moment we’re mid-move. That is, we’ve put our place up for sale, but have no where to move on to. We were a bit crammed into our space, with four more bookcases dominating the space where one now sits. The Billys got dismantled and put in storage and the books they held were transported bag by bag over to my parents place for safe keeping.
The dilemma we faced as we completed this task was to decide which books stayed and which went for a long sleepover at my parents. Clearly, there is no way we’d reread all of our books (or in some cases, like the hefty biography on Oppenheimer, “American Prometheus,” read for the first time) in the interim period between places, but it was a case of having the right mix.
Cookbooks had to stay. There are plenty of good ideas knocking about the Internet, but I like the way cookbooks are put together and the inspiration they can provide to try different flavours and techniques. I don’t like following recipes to the t though, it just doesn’t feel right. My favourite is the “Waje, Wide o en kock,” a Mexican cookbook by a Swedish chef that spent some time down in Mexico and California. Nothing likely Mexican food made from the bottom up, including corn tortillas.
Next, I had to keep the lovely leather bound numbers of “Is it for us alone?” That my fiancé made me. Not to read, but just to be there. They make me feel all nice and lovely inside, even after a particularly stressful day.
With me, the majority of books seem to be Sci-fi or fantasy (represented here by Adams, Banks, Simmons, Rowling and Pratchett, amongst others). Sometimes it’s definitely escapism, but often I find they’re much better at exploring our societal debates by taking us out of our world and into another (e.g. The much talked about “Hand Maidens Tale,” by Le Guin, though personally I like, “The Word For World is Forest.”). That’s not to say other novels can’t do that, but I just like the way Sci-fi and fantasy writers go about it.
There is then a sprinkling of my fiancé’ books from studying English at university (Mallory stands out as one that’s particularly chunky and easy to see). I’ve also got some random work related books – the riveting, “Reinsurance Fundamentals,” and the hardly opened, “Risk management in banking.”
As I finish typing this post I realise that the choice of what should stay ended up entirely random. We knew we’d see the other books again so we packed up what was in the Billys or was not quite fitting in to the current set up for the brown bookcase. I thought that it was more thought out than that, but I was wrong.
For now, I’ve confined new book purchases to the kindle, but I won’t be able to stay away from the feel of physical books when we’ve got new bookcases to fill.
– Standing outside Queensway Station, London and finished on the District Line