“Books to the ceiling,Arnold Lobel
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.”
Between now and 1st September I shall be joining in Cathy’s activity 20 Books of Summer — except I’m going for a less strenuous fifteen books. I’ve already indicated a few of the books I’m hoping — nay, intending — to enjoy so I won’t repeat them here but, if you’ll humour me, I do want to advert to my mile-high pile of books.
During our Covid winter lockdown — longer in Wales than in, say, England — I found it relatively easy not to acquire new books: with most “non-essential” retail shops shut (though I’d argue, along with the French government, that books were in fact essential items) and with not being a great online shopper I found it gratifying to watch my shelves get a little more bare and cardboard boxes filling up with completed books for the Red Cross charity shop.
Now, however, to my shame and horror I am starting to requisition replacements faster than I’m consuming them. I blame retail outlets, ‘non-essential’ bookshops and charity shops once more being open for business. Because of course I can’t really put the blame on my weak-willed self, can I?
At the beginning of 2021 I decided to see if and for how long I would be able to subsist on books just on our shelves. By Lady Day — 25th March — in olden times the official beginning of the year in England, I calculate I’d already completed and reviewed my 21 TBR Books in 2021 self-set challenge. Somehow I don’t think I’ll manage another 21 TBR books before midsummer but we’ll see: I’ve already got through eleven or twelve at this point.
Meanwhile by May, when lockdown restrictions in Wales were eased, I estimate I had acquired and read just three books, two were new books for review (Gill Lewis’s Swan Song and Tim Tilley’s Harklights) and one I bought online with a Waterstone’s gift book voucher (Ursula Le Guin’s The Complete Orsinia, review soon). Since then, however, I’ve picked up *ahem* a few more titles, mainly from local charity shops… How I love them! How I need them!
Anyway, it now being June I shall mostly be reading and posting about books I’ll have read over the next three months (with a few reposts thrown in for good measure): there shall be fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, one or two titles in a foreign language, and idiosyncratic analyses of particular works that have particularly engaged me. At present, for example, I’m reading Sam Youd’s A Palace of Strangers (received for review), Zoe Gilbert’s Folk (bought a year or so ago), and Katherine Langrish’s From Spare Oom to War Drobe (only recently acquired).
And of course I’ve been noting what some of you plan to spend your leisure time reading up to the first of September…
Do you too have tottering piles of ‘books to the ceiling’ waiting to be read (or neatly stacked shelves if that’s your thing)? Have you been able to reduce their numbers during your lockdown or did you stock up with online purchases in case of some bookish Armageddon?