I have a love-hate relationship with my Ikea bookshelves. The love is easy to explain - they're so pretty. White, simple and pristine, they keep my office orderly in an understated, elegant way. Heck, they even allow me to display movie posters on the cupboard doors.
Why hate? Well, they've begun to sag. Actually, I think the sagging process started the minute I put my books on them. Ikea reduces the price every year but what they don't tell you is they also reduce the quality until it's virtually just a couple of cardboard sheets acting as shelves. Is it only me who thinks it's ridiculous to sell a bookshelf that's not designed to hold the weight of books? Damn you, Billy Bookcase. If only you didn't look so good.
Maybe it's partly my fault - I have way too many books. So many that my bookshelf sagged from intimidation. It would be justifiable if they were all great books but the fact is among the gems, I also have lots of duds. Books that should never have been published and did the trees which gave up their precious pulp a grave disservice.
Take Paul Theroux, for example. He used to be a brilliant story-teller. I love his earlier writing and could even forgive him for his petty, anti-Singapore grudge. But in his old age, his books have become self-absorbed and incomprehensible drivel. It's like seeing John Lennon degenerate into Justin Bieber. Yet, I keep buying his books, hoping beyond hope that he would revert to his glory days. Three strikes, you're out. Utter waste of paper, waste of my time and waste of my bookshelf space.
Why do I bother to keep them, then? Because, ladies and gentlemen, I'm a book hoarder. Here's roughly my thought process:
"That book was pretty bad, I should dump it."
"But I paid good money for it."
"I'll probably never read it again anyway, so why keep it."
"But some day, my kids might..."
Inevitable conclusion: "Ah well, it doesn't take up much space anyway."
Result: sagging bookshelves
I do give away some books that I really cannot tahan on my shelf anymore but not nearly enough. I have Enid Blytons, Agatha Christies and a whole series of Disney books from my youth, that no one else in this household will ever read. I faithfully saved them for my kids, not realising that Enid Blyton had long gone out of fashion. But when I remember how I've lugged them from house to house (I've moved 7 times in my life, 8 if you count the move to the university hostel), it seems a little sayang to throw them out now. My books are a bit like family - they give you baggage that drive you insane but you feel guilty parting with them.
I recently did a count and discovered that I have 18 unread books on my bookshelf. The crazy thing is, I keep buying more. Sometimes, for no reason other than there was a 10% discount coupon on bookdepository. I have to force myself to edit my buys at book sales. I even have a book entitled, "So Many Books, So Little Time". I don't think I ever finished it.
I don't just buy books, I buy book sets. I have a compulsive urge to collect entire book series, preferably in the same edition, thank you very much. My kids are beneficiaries of this obsession - I rarely turn down book requests (unless it's Twilight or Archie comics).
Please don't ask me why Andre has toy soldiers guarding his books.
You know, being a book hoarder has its plus points. Whenever Lesley-Anne brings home a required reading list for literature, chances are she needs to look no further than my bookshelves.
And when her friends came over and saw my shelves, they went a little berserk. "You have the coolest mum!" they gushed. It's nice to be a hero in the eyes of your child's friends.
Yes, I am a hoarder. But as a friend said, better books than shoes.
Performing for Ghosts - Hungry Ghost month came & went. I don't miss the ashes flying about or watching out where I walk in case I trip over some offering. But I do look forward...
8 months ago