Since the age of two and a half when I began to read I have been a bookworm through and through. The pennies were tight in my childhood home but that didn’t stop me. There was always the libraries in Southend-on-Sea where I was brought up. I spent a large part of my school holidays in them. I’m still a borrower today. In fact when I discover a new book that I want to read the catalogues of both Devon and Torbay libraries are first scoured to see if I can source it.
During parts of my adult life my homes have overfloweth with books. They spilled from shelves and cupboards and were piled on floors. I wondered now if their physical presence was an affirmation of my self-identity, portraying an overall sense of learnedness and as descriptors of my interests.
As my interest in simplifying my life to promote well-being flourished I questioned the need for so much stuff. My book tally has gradually dwindled. All my books, aside from a few that I keep in my office, are housed in this bookcase. It nearly got decluttered itself in a sorting frenzy but, just in time I discovered it fitted perfectly in an alcove in my bedroom. The aesthetically pleasing rainbow arrangement of book spines could be a pain in the arse if the bookcase was large. I might never find anything! However as the number of books is small it works okay.
The books that are keepers fall mainly into distinct categories: self help and spirituality books that I read again and again, a few more to do with work, reference books about my interests in crafting mainly jewellery making, printmaking and mosaic, a little collection of favourite cookbooks and travel guides. Then there are the books that I’ve yet to read. These are mainly sourced secondhand, from charity shops or online. Many are gifted. The few that I buy new tend to be from independent bookstores where I love browsing. The one attached to the Arnolfini gallery in Bristol is a gem. Most books are passed on. They have to be very special to merit a permanent place on my shelves!