A Library of Your Own

Christina here. When I was young, I dreamed of having my own library. The old-fashioned kind, of course, with built-in shelves in the Gothic style and special ladders for climbing up to reach the top. Perhaps even a double-height room with a little balcony running round the top where you could walk around to peruse those shelves. It has to be the ultimate fantasy for a booklover and I can’t help but picture the library in the Disney film Beauty and the Beast – just perfect!

Saltram House(There is a list of five real life libraries here that would suit me just fine, although with slightly more realistic expectations, my ideal is the one at Saltram House, a National Trust Property in Devon).

My library was going to be very specific though, not like the general one downtown. It would be specially curated to contain only romantic fiction, some historical fact/biographies, possibly a few thrillers, and coffee table books, including those relating to my favourite artists. And the romantic books had to all have Happy-Ever-After endings – no sad ones allowed. No Gone With the Wind (although I might make an exception for that one as it’s a classic), absolutely no Tess of the D’Urbervilles and no Thorn Birds. And yes, even if I hadn’t read the books added to that library, I would have checked the ending of each and every one just to make sure.

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How Many Books Is Too Many Books?

IMG_5579 (004)Nicola here, and today I'm asking the provocative question "how many books is too many books"? And as a follow up to that: "What system do you use to categorise your bookshelves?" You see, I need help and advice. The time has finally come to sort out my “library.” This is rather a grand term for a muddled collection of books on shelves, in boxes and in stacks on the floor all over the house with only a notional system of what is where. For years I’ve been saying I need some sort of cataloguing system, yet each time I sit down with my books to try to categorise them, I either get distracted into reading something I had forgotten was there or I am so overwhelmed by the hugeness of the task that I retreat and close the door on the mess. There are obvious downsides to this, most annoyingly the fact that I can’t find half the books I know are there and when I need them for research – or to re-read a favourite novel – I’ll spend ages huffing around looking for them. Also, I have been known on more than one occasion to buy multiple copies of things just because I didn’t realise/remember they were already in my collection. So a neatly-ordered bookshelf is crucial.

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