Although I have a foolproof system which enables me to lay my hands on specific books amazingly quickly (well, within a couple of days anyway!), Moira has frequently been somewhat critical of my cunning plan.
As a result, we decided to produce a spreadsheet of books (yes, I know!)… which provides a list of titles, authors, shelf locations and other bits of mundane trivia.
This WAS going to be a project for the New Year but, predictably, I couldn’t resist the challenge and the spreadsheet is now complete!
Well, it turns out that we currently have 2,001 books on our shelves!
For some reason, this number feels strangely significant… but I’m at a loss to come up with any justification. Perhaps one of the books takes the form of a mysterious black monolith (Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001, A Space Odyssey refers)?
Not surprisingly (for us, at least), we have quite a few duplicate books.Crime features strongly (I blame Moira!): for instance, we have 35 books by Agatha Christie and 18 by Margery Allingham.
Somewhat predictably, we have a large number of Bibles (14, in fact!).
Amongst our collection, there are quite a few old paperbacks of the 1930s/40s (too many to bother to list in total), including Margot Asquith’s Autobiography, dated 1936; Jack London’s ‘The Mutiny of the Elsinore’, dated 1946; Bernard Shaw’s ‘Saint Joan’, dated 1946; HG Wells’ ‘A Short History of the World’ and ‘The History of Mr Polly’, both 1946.
As far as hardback books are concerned, there a number of fascinating volumes, including: James Hilton’s ‘Good-Bye Mr Chipps’, dated 1934; Punch Magazine, dated July-December 1923; Kay Fisker’s ‘Modern Danish Architecture’, dated 1927; Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’, dated 1920; Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, dated 1911; three volumes of GAT Middleton’s ‘Modern Building’, dated 1906; Thomas Carlyle’s ‘Past and Present’, dated 1872; three (illustrated) volumes of ‘The Works of William Shakespeare’ dating back to 1843; and de Rouillon’s ‘The Tourist’s French Companion’, dated 1829.
Please don’t feel shy about making contact and offering us SUBSTANTIAL sums of money for any of the above!
The challenge, of course, will be a) keeping the spreadsheet up to date; b) how diligently we remove duplicate books (offer them to friends/charity shops); c) agreeing particular locations for individual authors (rather than having them spread around the house… with a few exceptions – see item d) and, finally (and crucially), d) whether I’m able to retain my lovely arrangement of colour-coded spines in the living room (don’t even go there!)…
PS: the beautiful lino print heads in the photograph are by my great friend (and brilliant artist, of course!) Si Smith.