In the Guardian, Linda Grant confesses to having “murdered” her library saying, among much else:-
“I no longer need to impress male visitors with the depth of my reading. So what is the nature of this library; what function does it serve other than being a filing system for books?”
Wow! Really? That is not the attitude of a true book lover.
Most of my personal library, currently several thousand books, is boxed and stashed due to chronic lack of space – a situation rescued by the arrival of the Kindle on the UK market a couple of years ago, which enabled me to go on buying books without sacrificing even more space.
I now have four of them** – Kindles, that is, not books – one of each major iteration, so I can swap between them easily when the battery runs out, which it always seems to do when I want to read in bed. And one is mounted permanently on the kitchen cupboard door at eye level above my workspace, where it holds all my personal recipes. A Kindle’s worth of books takes up the space of single, slim, volume and, since the introduction of Cloud storage, even that has become entirely academic.
**Actually, now 3; I gave away the original Kindle 3 recently. A mistake, I should have given away one of my Paperwhites as the massive battery life of the K3 made it the perfect hospital Kindle.
When, however, I had the space to display my real books in bookcases I did so with pride. Not to attempt to impress anybody with “the depth of my reading” – that would have been crass and I doubt people are shallow enough to care anyway – but simply to assert my love of books, many of which have been read and reread to tatters and 90% of which are paperbacks. I care not one iota whether or not this impresses anybody at all. That’s not what they are for.
My one surviving bookcase is rather more utilitarian, keeping my collection of modern cookbooks and some favourite, rotating, fiction within arm’s reach. My century and more old and sadly now fragile cookbooks are snugly boxed for their own protection.
And my Kindles don’t care whether anyone is impressed by their contents or not…