Until our recent de-cluttering operations, I would have said it wasn’t possible to have too many books. However, it has now become evident that under almost every pile of clutter lurked a box or crate full of them. Even in the hallway and kitchen, the latest areas to fall victim to the efforts of the only organised person in the family, books seemed to form the basis of everything, and not just in a metaphorical way either. Sometimes finding a long-lost book is like meeting an old friend, and you fling yourself on it and start re-reading immediately, which I can divulge holds up the whole de-cluttering operation somewhat, and sometimes it is like encountering an acquaintance who has fallen on hard times and now has a tattered cover and damp patches around the edges as if they had been reduced to sleeping rough. Occasionally, as in the case of the old geography books unearthed recently in the conservatory, it may even be similar to recognising someone you hoped you would never meet again!
The image shows some fake books we once made as props for a theatre show – fortunately these are no longer in my possession, as I have enough trouble finding room for all the real books.
In a sense printed books now have only a kind of nostalgic significance, because ebooks have sort of taken over from them, especially for the kind of ephemeral reading that I used to fuel with frequent library visits as well as buying paperbacks. But there is still a force at work that makes me open old printed books and read at least something from them. Today, for instance, I’ve found among others two of my favourite children’s books, ‘The Princess and the Goblin’ and ‘The Children of Primrose Lane’. The last time we de-cluttered I was thrilled to find I still had ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and ‘Pigeon Post’. The illustrations to my copy of ‘The Princess and the Goblin’ are some of my favourites. I may donate some more recent publications to a charity shop, but I will definitely hang on to the ones I’ve just mentioned. Even if I need a new bookcase to accommodate them.
This has been rather a busy weekend, but for various reasons I doubt if it will be the busiest one this month. Of course I did nothing, as usual, on Friday except to wait in for a delivery, but yesterday afternoon I went to the theatre to see a production of ‘The Iliad’ and most of today has been swallowed up by the de-cluttering operation. I’ve only managed to write for a short time, but I am determined to write until this latest effort is complete, even if I only do a few hundred words a day.Because it is so different from my usual novels, I am treading quite warily, so progress is a bit slower than usual.