Sometimes, when Jarad runs out of room on his bookshelves, little stacks of books will appear everywhere (like on the refrigerator). Here are his thoughts on where and how you should store books.
I was told many times as a child that there was no more room for books in the house. “You have enough, don’t you?” was the question that was (and sometimes still is) asked of me in a fit of exasperation. Well, you see, books don’t work that way. I have a hard time imagining too many books. It’s not like collecting purposeless figurines or kitschy nick knacks. You do not buy books to put them on a shelf or to look at them, you buy them to read them. (Or at least I do, at any rate. I’ve known people that bought books to say they had read them, but never actually did. Steer clear of those kinds of people. They are incredibly boring).
However, mom does have a small point, if you intend to keep the books that you buy, you have to store them somehow. That’s what I’d like to talk about today, because depending on the amount of space you have, you may find yourself pushed out the front door by your ever-growing book collection (I don’t personally mind have a house full to the brim with books, but maybe there’s a point when they become a trip hazard.)
I’m a little haphazard about storing my own books. Wherever I can find a spot for the book, that is where it shall go on my shelves. I have Dickens next to gardening books, fantasy novels shelved alongside non-fiction. It’s a slapdash little menagerie, and because of that it means that every once in a while, I forget about a book and happen across it 6 months later. It’s a nice little surprise, a gift from me to me, with love. Some people like to alphabetize their books, but for me that’s far too organized. My bookshelves, like my gardens, are never formal and are always a little chaotic. However, if formal is your style, alphabetize away!
If you are a book fanatic, you may find that you have to be a minimalist with all your other possessions. Except for books, I’m a serial purger. Every spring, I rummage through clothes and other things and decide what needs to go and what needs to stay. Precious space is freed up and guess what? More room for books. Although, I’m much more sentimental with my books, I do go through them, just less often. I will say, as we’ve discussed in a previous article (which you can check out here), I can’t throw books away; I donate them. To me, books are precious things, never to be tossed in the garbage can. It’s irresponsible and morally dodgy. Karma’s a bitch, people. Don’t test her. If a book no longer appeals to you, set it free! Let it find its way in the world. It will find a home with the right person.
Of course, there are other ways to keep books. If you have the money, hire a carpenter to fill the walls with shelves. Do you really need that top shelf in the closet for hats? Fill that with books. Throw out the coffee table legs, stack up sturdy books and put the top on that. Get an old trunk for a side table and…fill it with books. I have a habit of storing books in and under my bed as I read. I once found a book in the refrigerator, but that was an accident. Books look great lined up on a side table or buffet, lining the sides of stairs. You get the picture.
When it comes down to it, readers are people who like to be surrounded by books. We don’t mind the pile of books on top of the refrigerator, or the stack of novels on the back of the sofa. That just means there’s a book within arm’s reach at all times. It’s just the people around us who mind, and why should we worry about what they think? There are more important things to do, like go to the bookstore. So, as long as your books aren’t in the way of any major exits, and not a fire hazard, you have permission to hoard, just this once. But please make sure to actually read them!
Jarad is the co-administrator and writer for Sacred Chickens, attends college at MTSU, loves tea and coffee, and tries to spend every spare second reading. He recently developed an interest (some might say obsession) with gardening. Jarad is an English major with a concentration in literature. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!