The Library Diaries Vol. 3: To The Drawing Board and Back

on Thursday, September 8, 2011
After resigning myself to having lost five or so boxes of books in the move (including two that contained eight volumes of the Complete Oxford English Dictionary), I diligently set about organising the south wall of my library with what was left of my hardcover English novels. With each letter I became more aware of what I had lost - books by many of my favourite authors simply weren't there. So I hit up the internet - Alibris and Abebooks - to track down new copies in fine condition of books that had long been out of print. I managed to find a fair few, and put in the orders. A few hundred bucks to ensure my library had good copies of books I loved seemed an understandable, if somewhat painful, sacrifice.

I'm betting you can guess what happened next. I went back to Dad's office and was checking the warehouse for those elusive volumes of the OED when one of the guys there asked what I was doing. After I had a fairly protracted whinge he asked whether I'd checked in the room 'over there'. Needless to say he was pointing in a direction that I didn't even know hid another room. "We had a spring clean a few months ago," he said. "I vaguely remember carting a stack of boxes in there." A mad scramble to find the key ensued and when I opened the door... Well, imagine the closing scene of Raiders of The Lost Ark but with boxes of books. I hadn't lost five or six boxes. I had lost about twenty. Suddenly my collection seemed far more immense that I remembered it. So began the great task of removing them and, suffice to say, I have never sweated so much in my life, and I managed to screw my back for the better part of a week. Thankfully the adrenalin kept me oblivious until that night.

In the library it was back to the drawing board for the south wall. Chaos ruled once again.

Another week was spent trawling through boxes; reorganising all my lost friends and carting books back and forth between my place and my parents'. Their shelves filled up quickly with my rejects (still good books, but not quite good enough to win space on my shelves). Two weeks later and I finally have a complete south wall.

So there you go. Hardcover editions (mostly firsts, many signed) of all my favourite novels written in English. Plus a bit of space to grow. Now I just have to work out what to do with all the doubles arriving daily in my mailbox!


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