“It is clear the books owned the shop, rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.”–Agatha Christie
The shop Dame Agatha describes could be my office. Books occupy virtually all the otherwise open space. A few weeks ago, I resolved to confine my books to their appointed places–shelves, behind the glass front of my secretary, a special few on the built-in cabinet where the computer sits–which required that many of them go to the attic. Things were very tidy for a couple of days, and then the “breeding” began.
First, the window seat I had cleared of all but items necessary for the novel I’m writing now (Titan’s Brood) filled up again, this time, courtesy of my sister, with all 33 of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels. A couple of days later, the author’s copies of Gods and Lesser Men arrived. Rather than leave them in a box beneath my desk (I’m determined to eliminate the boxes, no matter what), I placed them on top of a chest that had just been cleansed of 20 or so Travis McGee books. Faced with another trip to the attic, I chose to stack 27 gardening books on top of a short footstool carved into the shape of an elephant. It looks “artistic,” but dangerous.
According to a January 19, 2014, article in The Daily Beast, of the people who read at least one book a year, 28 per cent choose ebooks. A friend of mine told me last week he only reads ebooks because he doesn’t know what to do with paper books when he’s finished with them. I’m unfamiliar with the idea of being “finished” with a book. After I’ve read one, I sometimes read it again, and it always becomes furniture that, regretfully, may end up in the attic.