All About Books

I’ve been thinking a lot about books recently- we have hundreds despite a huge cull when we moved a couple of years ago. Most of them live in the TV room and spare bedroom, housed 2 deep in the ubiquitous ‘Billy’ bookcases (whatever did we do before IKEA?). But this is not the whole picture. There are also books in the bedroom, which came handily equipped with shelves, my studio and a pile of Christmas books still in the sitting room.

There are different categories of book in each location. Downstairs is where most of the novels live, plus the books belonging to my husband and son (who now lives in London but has yet to take his library with him). I try only to buy digital copies of novels now to read on my kindle. I find it works best for novels and biographies, less well for anything with illustrations or reference books though I do read other books using it.

If the novels are still in the house it’s because I think I will read them again. I have many dating from childhood and young womanhood that I have read again and again. I see this as comfort reading and turn to them if I am feeling very stressed or unwell, as in the present moment when I am suffering from a nasty cold!


I recently had a conversation with a friend about keeping books. Her take on it was that she just liked to have them in the house but would never read one twice. As my sole criteria for keeping books is that I might want to either read them again, or refer to them if non-fiction, I find this hard to understand. I gain so much pleasure revisiting old friends such as the Georgette Heyer novels I first read as a teenager. I have also found that as I get older I read more non-fiction than fiction.
I’d love to know your take on this. How have your tastes changed over the years? Do you read books more than once?

As we move up the house collections become more specialised, business, self-help and spirituality books on the first floor and art, printing and photography up in the studio.

I almost forgot the cookery books – quite a few of them too, in a couple of different locations. A shelf near to the cooker and another big bookcase downstairs!

That just about covers it I think, leaving me only to share with you my current reads

I picked these two up from the bookstall at Kochi airport on the way home from India. Mrs Funnybones is a lighthearted look at life in India as a mother and career woman. I am still near the begining of Inner Engineering and so far so good, but there is a lot to process before I am able to comment meaningfully about it.

Antony Sher is a well-know and much respected classical actor who shares his journey in creating the role of Shakespeare’s Falstaff at the RSC in Stratford. I am finding his account facinating and would recommend it to anyone interested in the stage.

Finally my comfort read. I’ve had a stinking cold this week and various other things haven’t been going too well. So it helps to have something familiar that I know has a happy ending, that I can just sink back into. I bought this book in about 1978 from a book exchange in Plymouth where I was working back then. I think you could say its stood the test of time!

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