There are two things always present in our 200-year old home: Books and Dust. We can’t do much about the dust (a tiled roof, thin window panes, busy road outside and hardwood floors make it a mammoth task to clean), except to, well, dust occasionally. The books, though, are another story altogether. This home currently hosts four generations-worth of books. We have hundreds of books tucked away in cupboards, trunks and stacked on top of cabinets. Seven cupboards filled with antique and vintage books in Portuguese, German, French and English line the kitchen corridor. Three cupboards in the entrance host fiction, books on Goa and music. Other cupboards hold medical textbooks going back to the late 1800s until the 1990s. And all of this is just what my in-laws have. My own modest collection is still lying at my mother’s house (sorry, mum) and I dare not bring it here yet because we’ve run out of shelf space.
Despite the daunting dust situation, I’ve taken to displaying a few books here and there. The trio above is in our formal living room. Three different styles of art, completely at home. In the dining room, a quartet of hard-bound books on ballet sit on an antique laundry basket, now re-caned and re-purposed as a cabinet of sorts. The books are accompanied by a brass leaf and a wooden elephant rattle.
In my former ‘office’, a clean-up is underway. This sectioned off portion of the verandah was my father-in-law’s consulting space. It became my office and writing space after I moved here. After my son was born, the office was moved indoors, to where I could hear the baby crying. The computer has stayed inside since (the wireless connection is better too!). I’m weeding out the junk now, only to have a space where I can escape to, to write and to paint. Several trash bags worth of crap and old paper have been meticulously segregated and are awaiting trash day. There’s still more sorting to be done. One corner of the room has a pile of books given to me to Bookcross. The English language ones are easy to distribute. This is a pile of German books. (Anyone interested?)
I love the cover on this one. Classic yet so contemporary.
This cover makes me want to yearn for a tropical garden of my own with lush palms screening the world from us.
What does one do with this consuming need to have books? We’ve got to figure out what to do especially with the medical textbooks in the house. Medical advances mean that a lot of the information may already be obsolete. But the books are so lovely! They’re occupying a lot of prime real estate too, so if you have any suggestions please let me know! I’ve obsessively begun reading on my phone’s Kindle and that takes away some of that desire to buy more physical copies. I’ve got an online wishlist a mile long, but I’m being very good and restraining myself from adding them all to the cart.
Yet, there are some books that you just have to have, to hold.
This one arrived today.
I was so taken by the premise of this book that I bought it. We do heritage walks in Goa and just reading the summary has given me ideas for several new walks. Also, a few hours devoted to ‘the observation of trifles’ seems very necessary.
Do you have issues with books and their storage? Is dust a major problem for you, too? (Or I’d have floor-to-ceiling open bookshelves on every wall of the house.) Let me know in the comments.