Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's Not about the Books

It's not about the books.  It's about the space.

There's always a place for a new book, right?  Only sometimes there isn't.  My husband stumbles upon my Amazon boxes or Abebooks packages before they are recycled and sighs.   He does not share my passion for owning books. His call for frugality should be printed on a ball cap. 

"No more books." 

I sometimes feel like the woman standing beside the farmer with the pitchfork in Grant Wood's American Gothic.

Then a new unsolicited review copy arrives and suddenly I, too, am dismayed by the plethora of books.
There are bookcases in every room except the bathroom. If a guest feels like reading Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons over dinner, it's right there on the second shelf of the cabinet to the left of the table. Maybe he/she wants to read The Diary of Virginia Woolf over coffee.  That would be in the third box on the left on the porch. 
I now have two tables covered with books because I honestly can't think of anywhere else to put a shelf.  Unless I get rid of the TV.
So I've made a temporary vow.  It's the kind of vow that all of us make from time to time to the household gods.  I WILL stop buying new books.  And I WILL be taking estimates on that addition to the house, by the way.
How did this new mysterious unsolicited book end up here?  A publicist got my name somewhere--I don't remember dealing with this publisher before so it's probably from a very old list. Alas, I don't want the book. It doesn't look good, it doesn't look bad, someone's going to love it, but I cannot accept more books from publishers.  
"It was kind of you to send an advance copy of _____, but I have a backlog of books to review.  Please take my name off your publicity list."
That's the note going out to publicists.  I'm not on that many publicity lists, am I?   
Meanwhile, it's time to get back to Mrs. Oliphant, Ruth Suckow, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and some of the other hard-won old favorites.


verity said...

The space. I know what you mean. I thought we had no more space for books, and was in agony because my books were suffocating. But I managed to fit another set of shelves into a bit of passageway yesterday and now my books and I can breathe again...bring on moving to a house!

Frisbee said...

I'm glad you found some space. I'm thinking of replacing my coffeetable with a bookcase, but wouldn't that look odd?