Monday, 2 August 2010

Living on the shelf

I'm a bit of a collector - books and music mostly, particularly Left Book Club editions from the 1930s and 1940s, and vinyl indie stuff, but also literary theory, SF, kids' books, classical music and much else besides. I also like vintage leftwing memorabilia, such as posters and badges (if you have any, let me know). I've spent the morning transferring a pile of books like this (below) from my office desk to the shelves I've commandeered, after my new office mate gaily looked from her completely bare desk to mine and muttered that she 'couldn't work like that'. I'm trying here, I'm trying…

I thought I had a lot of stuff, until I met Mark, my colleague, who has a house literally full of 15000 books, organised on the Dewey Decimal system - there's a Maureen Lipman room, the critical theory wing, the 19th-century Women's Writing annex, and several thousand DVDs, unwrapped, to go along with the same films stored on VHS. Plus, of course, the collection of pulp books bought solely because the covers are interesting, or because the author once wrote something interesting under a different name, in a different genre.

How I admire him. Despite the lack of ceilings, safe wiring, hot water and sanitation, it's a house of fun.

But you don't have to be a squatter in your own home: ask Stewart Lee, who wrote an excellent piece on the subject of shelving in this weekend's Observer.

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