We have reached maximum book capacity

I must have been deluded to think this day would never come, and I never thought it would be a purchase of two books and some Winnie the Pooh nostalgia that shook me into reality.

It started a week ago, when I got another book case from my parents who have recently downsized. It’s wide but shallow so although it’s taking up my hall, we can get past it, and it holds around 300 books. I populated its shelves easily from what I have been telling myself were arty book towers. I then went out to the container unit I have next to my house (where a stone garage used to be, until a lorry load of grain lost its breaks and rolled down the farmyard and wiped it out, very considerable bang) and found several plastic boxes of books, some of which have real sentimental attachment. My aunt gave me Winnie’s Cook Book when I was about seven (infinitely superior to Nigella, I can tell you) and to think, it’s been languishing in a shipping container, still packed up from the last house move, while the first Robert Galbraith is cosy and warm in my living room! The recipes are great, essential things like toad in the hole and fudge.

And then two more books came, just slim volumes I have wanted, and they do not fit on the new giant case. I would need to start a new pile somewhere, and go straight back to where I was.


We are a Bookcon five. Or is one the worst level? I’ll have to ask Matthew Broderick.


Would you like to play a game?

So then I thought, man-up and count the books, woman.

How many books are there in this house? (and its adjoining shipping container)

Living room – 421

Bedroom – 290

Hallway – 311

Cupboard under the stairs – 72

Container – 544

Kitchen – 12

Handbag – 2

Loaned out to others – 5

Grand total – 1657

Of these, 59 are unread. There, I have named the size of my TBR pile. *Hangs head in shame*

How many thousands of books did I think I had room for? And this could be far worse as I used to live on a houseboat and lost a good hundred or so books in a soggy incident, and also lost several boxes in the divorce.

And the daft thing is, some of these books I did not enjoy, and others I never wanted in the first place. People give them to me either out of the kindness of their hearts, or they are masking their laziness with generosity, as it saves them a trip to the charity shop.

So how do I decide which ones to keep? Maybe an Australian-style points system? 😉 No, I have decided to go by ‘How much do I love thee? And, will I read thee again?’ I need to love a book to keep it, which is why Hilary Mantel’s Every Day Is Mother’s Day and David Lee Roth’s autobiography were dumped like Hansel and Gretel in the Shelter Shop today, and Edward Lear’s The  Quangle Wangle’s Hat and Seamus Heany’s Opened Ground have been promoted from boxes to shelves. I have a long way to go to weed through them all, but from now on I think I’ll just have to control myself a little more in the charity shops, and musty book sales in village halls. My weekends will never be the same again.