Tuesday, 7 April 2015

I Had Forgotten What A Simple Pleasure A Bookshelf Can Be.

Since we are entering Autumn/Winter here, I felt it would be a good idea to bring some books in from the garage. I want to minimise any possible damage or deterioration that may occur if temperatures drop. Most of our books are stored in plastic tubs with lids, which are stacked up in the garage. My concern is that if it gets too cold in there, dew could form inside these tubs and cause mold to form on the books. Once that happens, the book's a goner. 

This would be bad enough if it happens to any of our books, but it would be catastrophic if it happens to the books we have that are out of print or of some value to us. 
So, I headed out to IKEA and bought a KALLAX (formerly known as EXPEDIT) bookshelf and spent an hour or so putting it together in the lounge room. 

Held together with about a million dowels and eight screws, I wasn't sure how sturdy this thing would be, despite being quite heavy once it was put together. Still, as far as I was concerned, it just had to last a year or so. Made from compressed particle-board, it probably won't stand up to being moved around too much or being over-loaded with heavy hardbacks and coffee table books, but for our purposes right now, it would be adequate enough. Who knows, we may use it as a room divider in the next house. IKEA also makes numerous inserts that can turn these empty shelves into cabinets with doors or slide-out boxes, but for now, all we need is a bookshelf.

We have a CD cabinet in the lounge room that had some books in it, but this was getting a little messy.

I spent the rest of the day going through the tubs and selecting some titles. My main priorities? All of my Bond books and some of my hard-to-replace crime titles. The Bonds were purchased throughout the '80s and '90s from various second-hand bookstores and these would be a headache to replace nowadays without spending a small fortune. Books that I paid a buck or two for are now selling on eBay for anywhere between seven to fifteen dollars. And some of mine are in very good condition. 
As for the crime novels, quite a few of them are currently out of print. Works by noir authors such as Jim Thompson and David Goodis(a damn genius, in my view)are impossible to find, as are the works of English espionage author Eric Ambler. Sure, I could probably get these books on eBay, but again, the costs would be prohibitive. Better to look after the ones I have. 
So, I brought in most of these, but I didn't spend as much time arranging them as I would have liked. Hence, I have classic hard-boiled crime titles mixed in with the works of Hemingway and Somerset Maugham. My wife sifted through her books and selected a bunch of children's titles. Again, many of these are either not in print currently, or expensive to replace. 

The Chandler and Hammett paperbacks are in. And I recalled that I had written my initials and the year of reading on the recto page of some of these books. In pencil, of course.

"The terms recto and verso refer to the text written on the "front" and "back" sides of a leaf of paper in a bound item such as a codex, book, broadsheet, or pamphlet."
-definition courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recto_and_verso 

And not forgetting other crime authors of the era, such as James M. Cain, William P. McGivern and Charles Williams.

As for the Bonds, I had forgotten just how many copies I had. I knew I had at least two of every one of Ian Fleming's fourteen OO7 adventures, but man, these books took up two of the sixteen shelves. AND I double-stacked the shelves.

Then some literature. Mixed in with more crime, an Ambler classic, and a reproduction of The Savoy Cocktail Book.;

My wife shelved mainly her children's books and novels. Many of the paperbacks were books that she bought before I met her. 

Anyway, that's our little Easter Weekend diversion. Here's how it all looks at the moment;

While it would be nice to leave the typewriter (1956 Smith-Corona Silent Super), car (1938 Citroen 15cv TA, made by Burago)and camera (late 1950s Voitlander Vitomatic I)out on display, they would accumulate dust and we don't really need yet another thing to clean right now. I merely arranged them as such for the purposes of these photos.
The clock belonged to my parents. It's currently not in working order, but that's something else that I'll attend to when the time comes.
The glass ashtray belongs to my wife. She has a small assortment of European hand-blown glass. Notice also the long glass beaker on the floor next to the shelf.
And the Royal Doulton ceramic Union Jack bulldog is mine. It's gone back into its box for now. I'll nestle it in among the Bond books in the next house. Here it is with my oldest Fleming paperback, a copy of Live And Let Die from 1957.

Thanks for reading, all, and have a good week!


  1. Uncanny how much like Lazenby the bloke on the cover of L&LD looks!

  2. Dust shmust! Leave a machine or two out. You might as well enjoy them.

  3. Hmmmmmm books! And a pretty butterfly too.

    I don't know Kallax yet, but the Expedit's have proven to be very sturdy. Even when moved around a lot. Hope yours will stay useful aswell.

  4. Love it. The Hammetts, the pulpy Fleming paperbacks (I've got the same ones somewhere). Nice...

  5. We've got a few KALLAX shelves at our place too. Glad to see all the Hammett, Elmore Leonard, and Jim Thompson joining Fleming's works on your shelves. Based on your unbroken tradition of good taste, I think I'll be adding everything else I see on there to my to-read list!

    And, of course, love the Union Jack bulldog watching over them all.

    1. Once I get all the books into shelves, I'll do a longer post. Can't wait until they're all arranged according to genre, author, etc.