Something Missing

The reasons I haven’t blogged for a few weeks are mostly of the ‘life got in the way of relaxation’ variety that would even bore me if I re-hashed them again. But one factor I hadn’t considered might play a role in my interest in talking about books was their physical absence from my surroundings.

With my recent house move (one I fervently hope will be my last) I decided that my new house would also have new bookshelves. I’d had the same IKEA shelves since first leaving university in 1988 and while they served me faithfully through countless moves and re-configurations the time felt right for something different. So I packed almost all of my books away in late January when I was getting the old house ready for sale and, aside from a couple of boxes which I opened when I moved here in June, they have stayed packed away until this week when my new shelves finally arrived.

And for almost all of that time I have grown decreasingly interested in reading, talking about reading, book shopping and all the other things that go with being a lifelong bookaholic. It’s not a matter of having something to read either as I deliberately kept some of my physical TBR accessible, have oodles of eBooks available and for the last four months have been living 500 metres from one of the city’s best book stores. But having something to read is not the same as being surrounded by reading memories. Or being able to easily lay one’s hand on a favourite book to loan to an old friend. Or having a quick re-read of my grandmother’s copy of Wuthering Heights before seeing the newest movie adaptation.

the lounge room shelves

I’m not suggesting that 2012’s lost reading mojo can entirely be ascribed to an absence of books but my lack of interest in all things book-related coincides too closely with my books being in boxes for it not to be remarked upon  My new shelves arrived on Tuesday this week and almost as soon as I’d unpacked the last book box late that night I felt better than I have in ages.  All year really.

the hallway shelves

Books are now the first thing I see when I walk in the front door and I hope that will always make me smile as much as it did tonight. In the past two days I’ve read more than I have in the last month (I’m half-way through a book I dared not start during my slump for fear of not doing it justice). And I’m mentally reviewing my wishlist, thinking of things to blog about and wondering once again if I can read until 3AM and still look like I give a damn about work the next day.

Life is good.

This entry was posted in musings. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Something Missing

  1. Norman Price says:

    Bernadette I am pleased you are feeling much better and have recaptured your reading mojo. I think sometimes you have to take a break from reading especially after mentally exhausting efforts like moving house. Best wishes.


  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    Bernadette – I’m so glad that you’re feeling bookish again. Your shelves are lovely and I know just what you mean about being surrounded by books. That’s the best way to just sink into a good read. Your home looks terrific and I wish you much happiness in it! Oh, and I’d love your secret for being able to read ’til 3AM and still look like you care about work…


  3. Anonymous says:

    Glad to hear from you Bernadette


  4. Jose Ignacio says:

    Am glad to hear from you, Bernadette.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Although I’m currently devouring Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway books upon you recommendations, I am also enjoyed your bookaholic musing like this one. I moved 60 boxes from Florida to SC
    (more books than furniture and clothing…but only six boxes when I returned to Florida…six boxes of treasure!) In all fairness…I moved 60 boxes of carefully selected titles, mostly paperbacks to
    stock the used bookstore I hoped to have after retiring.
    Oh, I had some friends that had books in every room in their house except the kitchen. Even the main bathroom had bunches of books………wonderful for visitors…..


    • That sounds just perfect Jane…books hidden away all over the place. I was just looking at the spare bedroom and thinking that I could fit a little table/bookcase by the bed to offer some relief to any visitors who pop by.

      I’m sure you’re not alone in dreaming of a used bookstore after retirement – I still daydream about winning the lottery and opening such a store and then it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t make any money but I’d still be in heaven.


  6. Anonymous says:

    I had about 15 boxes of old Canadian case reports that we were no longer using in my law office. I was going to give them to the local museum when my sons, 27 and 29, who are in law school and a lawyer respectively said they wanted them. Sharon and I took them the 800 km to Calgary and they are now looking good in bookcases around the living room of our sons.


    • I do like the idea of those old case reports lingering in the living rooms – and minds – of the next generation of lawyers Bill – there’s a lot to be said for that kind of continuity.


  7. Carla Mirchandani says:

    Hi Bernadette ~ I’m so glad you’re back! I know you’re enjoying your lovely new home……reunited with your books. I’m always delighted when “Reactions to Reading” arrives. I have missed you big time! With gratitude and best wishes to you ~ Carla Mirchandani Charlotte, North Carolina


  8. Bill Selnes says:

    Bernadette: Did not realize until after posting that my name had not been recorded on the comment on law books.


  9. Beth2 says:

    Welcome back Bernadette, you’ve been missed. And congratulations on not only finally settling into your new abode, but also on being so aware of the impact of your surroundings on your state of mind. Do you think you suffered something akin to homesickness in missing your books?


    • I suppose it is something like homesickness Beth – I’m not much of a hoarder so don’t have lots of other “stuff” around – just a few things that are precious because of some memory they evoke and collectively I think my books are one of those precious things. I’ve been without them before when on long trips but never before been at home without having books around me. Not something I plan to repeat.


  10. Kathy D. says:

    There is no way a house is a home without books. That would feel like living in a motel room to me. They’re part of who we are, our pasts and present.
    Glad you’ve settled in and that your books are nearby.
    I couldn’t sleep at night if my bookshelf in my bedroom wasn’t filled with books I love.
    Am glad RTR is up and running again.


  11. Maxine says:

    I am sure your house now feels complete with its bookshelves. I’ve missed your reviews and look forward to your renewed enthusiasm and hence reading more of them.


  12. Sarah says:

    Glad to see you back Bernadette. I know exactly what you mean. I have boxes adn boxes of books waiting for bookshelves so I can unpack them. To be honest, I don;t miss the books at the moment but I’ll like it when they are all unpacked.


  13. Pingback: Books of the Months – October (& September) 2012 | Reactions to Reading

  14. JoV says:

    I thought it’s great to have a hallway shelf! I just stack my books which couldn’t fit into any shelf on the floor and stack them all the way up to the ceiling.! I noticed your absence but I know that you are enjoying yourself and taking a good break from blogging. Glad you are back though.


Comments are closed.