Marry? Snog? Divorce?

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I do believe that, for most Bibliophiles, most of our greatest moments are those when a new book is being held for the first time. It doesn’t matter if it is brand new and untouched or a well-thumbed, second-hand tome in the local charity shop. The thrill remains the same. The prospect of thousands of words, just waiting for us to make eye-contact with them, sends waves of excitement rippling through the very core of our soul.

I also believe, however, that for most Bibliophiles, the greatest torment is having to part with these givers of joy, fear, happiness, tears, or laughter. We hold onto our books, place them lovingly upon shelves, tables or in nooks and crannies and, every so often, we like to sit and just gaze at them as we absorb the sense of peace they give us.  I know parting with our books is the worst torment because it is a position I find myself in right now.

Since I decided to put more effort into my writing, I have been working, very uncomfortably I must say, at the dining table. One day, Mr Mogs put joy into my heart when he voiced a thought I had begun to ponder myself – “Why don’t we turn the study back into a study where you can work more peacefully?”

The study has always been named thus because, before Mr Mogs moved into Moggy Towers, it was a sort of… well… study! It had a desk, a computer, and lots and lots of books. The fact that all the books were still loaded up in their numerous boxes three years after the removal men had placed them there is quite irrelevant. Eventually, some book cases were purchased, the books were unpacked, placed upon the shelves and the boxes disposed of. Over time, the old boxy computer shrunk down into a lap-top. This meant the desk was no longer required and it too was disposed of.

The result of all this clearing up was plenty of space for Mr Mogs to install a television and his X-Box. The study become his games room although this was never acknowledged with the honour of a name-change. Oh no! It always continued to be ‘The Study’ and, over the course of the next ten days, it will revert back into the little haven of book-filled peace and solitude it was always intended to be.

Which brings me to the title of today’s blog. In order to effect this new arrangement, it has been necessary to commandeer some of the space taken up by my lovely books – the new desk has to fit in somewhere. The question was “How do I choose which ones must go?”

So I opted for the Marry, Snog, Divorce technique.

In the category of ‘Marry’ are those books written by my absolute favourite authors, the writers whose new publications are purchased within days of release, special editions with the beautiful illustrations, the books from my childhood which I have read time and time again, even as an adult. These are my very special friends whom I have often spent considerable time with and we’re not done yet. These books will, quite literally, leave Moggy Towers over my cold, dead, stiff and stinking carcass!

The ‘Snogs’ are the acquaintances I hung out with once and enjoyed their company enough to consider maybe doing so again at some time in the future. So they too can stay and continue to sit with dignified patience upon the shelves as they wait for me to visit them once more.

The ‘Divorcees’ are the ships which passed in the night. The one week stands. They are the ‘It-Was-Good-While-It-Lasted’ brigade but it’s time to move on. I know we will never spend time in each others company again but, despite that, I am still sorry to see them go. They remind me in some ways of the boyfriends from my youth –  when you know it is time to say goodbye and move on but still sad about doing so because we have spent time together and made a memory that no-one else can share. There is  lump in my throat as each one is taken down from the shelf and laid gently on the pile that will soon be on its way to the cat charity. I console myself with the thought that they will bring happiness to others and the pennies spent by the new owners will go towards saving poorly felines.

So now I say Adieu and Sayonara…

But wait…!

I’ve just had a thought…

We put new cupboards in the bedroom last year.

We packed them with books to provide some sound-proofing from next-doors television.

But we didn’t fill all the shelves.

There’s still some space…

“Hey you guys, how do you feel about down-grading our Divorce to a trial separation…?”


  1. Nanook

    I find myself in exactly your position Kiltie. I have disposed of exactly 3 books since moving to Bag End, a large house with a granny flat, 4 years ago. When granny sadly moved on, I bought large bookshelves and proceeded to sort my library out. It is a work in progress. How can I possibly throw away such titles as “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” , Second Prize Awarded for Neat Handwriting (me aged 10) or all my mother’s many year prizes for Physics and Mathematics (mostly Jane Austen and literary autobiography). Or my father’s Wisdens? The trouble is, so many of these books are still unread as I belong to a bookclub which occupies up to half my allocated reading time a month and I always have a pile from the library waiting by the bed. Recently I have been listening to Audio books in the car, I try to use these for my obsession with Jack Reacher and Nordic noir, freeing me up for “proper” books at home.

    • Kiltie Jackson

      I am a fully paid up member of the “Too Many Books, Not Enough Time” club! I can’t even do audio books as I’m only in the car for 2 fifteen minutes journeys each day – not even enough time for a sneeze!

  2. Been there! We now have very few books in our house, despite me being a book hoarder. I have only kept ‘marry’, and sent the rest to be enjoyed by others and now call the local library my bookshelf. Of course, moving every 18 months was the motivation. Maybe if we ever settle in our own house I shall collect again, but I actually enjoy the space my lack of books gives me now. I never would have believed it many years ago, but it was possible for me.

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