Bookcases, Bookcases, the Joys of Bookcases

The thing about bookcases is that you always need more of them.  At least I do, because the stream of books in my life is never ending.  Books are like rabbits and ideas, they reproduce themselves automatically.  One minute you have plenty of room in your bookcases for more books and then suddenly there are books piled all over the house and it is time to buy a new bookcase, or several. 

I have so many full bookcases in my house that sometimes I think it will sink into the basement from the sheer weight of all of them.  Perhaps, you might suggest, it would be prudent to shed some of the books.  And in truth, I have gotten better about doing that.  Used to be, I would never, ever, let go of a book once it came into my possession.  But once the problem of storing them reached crisis levels I had to rethink that obsession.

One thing that helped, in a sink-or-swim kind of way, was the fact that many years ago half my house burned down.  The half that didn't burn down, the bottom floor, sustained serious smoke and water damage, and since that is where many of the books were, we had to go through them and throw a lot of them out.  Yes, I know, it is painful to contemplate, but it is true–some of the books were so badly damaged that they couldn't even be given away.  In the process, I lost some of my favorite books, that I mourn to this day–my omnibus edition of the Caroline books, for instance.

But I gained the knowledge that physical books are just that–things that are far less important than human connections.  Because, you know how everyone asks you what you would grab if your house is on fire?  When the real thing happens the only thing going through your mind is getting the living, breathing creatures out–in our case, the kids, the cats and the dog (who refused to leave and cowered under the kitchen counter as firemen tromped through the house).  You don't spare a thought for the family photos, or your carefully designed scrapbooks, or even the computer with your novel on it.  All you think about is getting your loved ones out safely.

Since then I've managed to convince myself that letting go of books is good.  And I have the great good fortune to live in Portand, where Powells is located, which means any time the bookcases get a bit too bulgy, I can sort through them and go sell a few boxes there.  The problem is they give you more money if you take a store credit, so one must be disciplined in this endeavor as well.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I still have way too many books to fit in my bookcases and they spill into every room in the house.  (Which is just as well, because I distrust houses that do not have bookcases and stacks of magazines in them.)  So when the nice people, or the one nice person, at CSN Stores offered to send me a bookcase to review, I leapt at the chance.  Actually, they offered me a choice–review the bookcase myself, or offer it as a prize in a contest.  Um, I thought about offering you guys a chance to win it, really I did.  But my need for bookcases won out.

So just as soon as they send me my bookcase, I'll be reviewing it. You will read it here first!

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5 Comments on "Bookcases, Bookcases, the Joys of Bookcases"

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Roy Burkhead
Guest
11/17/2009 08:33
Hey Charlotte: Wonderful entry, and you’re a lucky dog for scoring the bookshelf to review. 🙂 I am deep in the can’t-give-away-my-books stage. There’s three book cases in my basement office, and that doesn’t include the Hemingway collection and reference books within arm’s length of my desk. And we have a bookcase in the living room where I keep signed copies from friends. I had to get rid of my books when I left college…for financial reasons, and I swore I’d never do that again. As a new reporter earning $5 an hour as a reporter for a rural newspaper,… Read more »
Charlotte Dixon
Guest
11/18/2009 10:09

Great story, Roy, thanks for commenting.

Cassandra Jade
Guest
11/19/2009 02:48

Shame about the fire, that would be devestating. I have a small house and ran out of space for bookshelves (and on the bookshevles) before I’d even finished unpacking. Boxes are my new best friend though I do think long and hard about which books to keep and which to donate because you can only stub your toe on a box so many times before it has to go.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
11/19/2009 11:09

Ah, but I’m certain all those boxes of books have a certain nice, solidity to them, don’t they? I think we need to just admit that we are addicted to books and it is a good addiction and so be it!

Don
Guest
11/25/2009 16:52

Hmmm, I don’t know about you guys, but for me, a home isn’t quite so homey without a book case in the place, and, of course, stacked to the hilt with books and nicknack’s!

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