Monday, April 9, 2007

The Books are Taking Over the House

I've got a spring cleaning resolution to try and keep this week... I have to go out and buy new shelves. A LOT of new shelves. You see, the books in this house are taking over.

To say that we are book lovers is quite possibly the understatement of the century. We are bona-fide book NUTS in this house. My husband and I are Readers... I've got a degree in English literature, and as well as his full-time job, my husband is also a journalist... Words are important to us. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, we are record-breaking library fine offenders, because we just can't seem to let good books GO once we've got them in our house.

But, to tell you the honest truth, it isn't actually the grown-ups' books in this house that are causing the crowding problem... It's the kids'. The "Kiddie Litter", as I affectionately call it. Even with all my high-fallootin' education-- I studied at the place where, on any given day, you could find Northrop Frye, Robertson Davies and Margaret Atwood strolling around and lecturing-- I still find that children's books are my absolute favourite things to read. I began collecting in my teens, and frustrated the hell out of some of my university professors by drawing quotations from authors like A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter and Robert Munch into my formal research papers... MOST of those papers were actually SUPPOSED to be about Shakespeare... HOWEVER, the points were always relevant in some shape or form, and the profs kindly indulged me, whilst encouraging me to PLEASE take the actual courses offered on Children's Lit and purge this obsession out of my system.

The formal Children's Lit courses didn't sit well with me, however. I didn't WANT to look deeper into the subtext of The Wind in the Willows and discuss the possibility of Rat and Mole's homosexual relationship. I didn't want to even THINK about what was actually going on behind the scenes with Pooh and Piglet, much less muse upon why Pooh was ACTUALLY called "Pooh"... What I discovered from these courses was that adults run a very great risk of RUINING children's literature, because they take it Too Seriously.

So, I went back to book-collecting, in the hopes that someday, my future children would enjoy them as much as I do.

And WHAT a library those children now have! Raising Readers has never been an issue in our house... They have not been raised with any other option. In this house, we read. We HAVE to read. We have to read, because there are books EVERYWHERE. They're in our bookcases, on our bedside tables, on the ends of our beds, in the toyboxes, on the stairs, on coffeetables, wedged between the sofa cushions, in the bathrooms, in the car... and falling out of everybody's clothes closets. Can you BELIEVE it??!! We've actually run out of space in everybody's bedrooms, so we've been storing books in our clothes closets. This is a big problem, because I'm raising three girls... and like me, my girls LOVE CLOTHES. Tonight, I had no choice but to face the fact that books-in-the-closets technique just isn't working anymore... While attempting to put away my children's laundry, a large pile of hardcovers teetered dangerously and collapsed, and the multiple impacts with my shin-bones are going to result in some interesting bruises...

So, it's limping off to the furniture shops I go tomorrow... Looking for wall units to line our upstairs hallway. My goal is to have all of the books OUT of my girls' rooms and in the hallway instead, so that if I want to read a certain bedtime story to someone, I won't have to cringe when I realize it's hostage in the bedroom where the two year old has just fallen asleep...

My husband thinks I'm nuts. Why on EARTH would we invest in shelving for massive amounts of children's books that will just be outgrown??

Well, honey, the little girls may eventually outgrow their book collection. But I hate to tell you, this big girl definitely won't.

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