Or, musings on owning a large number of books

So on Sunday I at last got around to carrying all my books downstairs to the bookshelves. (Long story short – my place flooded and I got new carpets end of last year. I know. Don’t judge me.) I had by that time carried down about a third of the books. It took me two hours to carry down the rest in some of those huge fabric shopping bags.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I even carried my phone with me in case I fell down the stairs and had to phone a neighbour or family. See, I was being a responsible adult. Ha ha.

And now I’m reminded of the time I carried a bookcase down the stairs by myself… and got stuck halfway down the stairs with the cat laughing at me. (People with cats know that look they get.)

But, see, I had had enough of open space on my bookshelves. I need to have books around me. It’s just one of those things. Like a security blanket. Or a teddy bear. But more difficult to move around.

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I don’t understand people who don’t have any books (I’m not talking about those who can’t afford books) or don’t read at all. “How can you not?” I ask. “Don’t you feel like you’re missing out on all the adventures?” I beg of them. And then I am reminded that not everyone got the chance to find books that they love. Or they were shot down because they dared to love Mills & Boon romances. As if reading romance suddenly makes you less of a reader.

Perhaps writing and reading genre fiction has made me more aware of this. Perhaps having studied literature has also helped. Many books that win literary prizes I can’t stand. Many books that others would want to pulp I find entertaining and read more than once (here’s looking at you, Night of the Living Trekkies).

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So yes, maybe books can make you do stupid things. Like trying to carry twenty bags of books downstairs by yourself. Or buying a box filled with books because it’s a library sale and they only cost R10 each. After all, they have a heady perfume to them. They call to you with gorgeous words, titles, and beautiful or strange covers. They tempt you with the adventures and knowledge you know are locked inside of them. They give you escape from a world that seem to be spiralling out of control a little more every day.

Keeping all of this in mind, perhaps carrying my stash of adventures downstairs wasn’t so silly. After all; I got to sit and read while waiting for my stiff muscles to recover.

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