The situation was getting desperate. The shelves were bending. The thing looked like this:

Messy bookshelf

The geckos had started renting out The Prophet’s dust jacket to a family of huntsmen.

No mercy, we said. Only if we’ll read it again. We said. The rest can go into this empty beer carton and we will have pretty bookshelves again.

At the start, it was easy.

Everything by Roald Dahl, Margaret Atwood and Bill Bryson. Keep.
All 75 books written by David Eddings. Keep. But not the double-ups.
Jeremy Clarkson and James May. Gone.
John Grisham. Gone.
The Helen Fielding book about the woman who wasn’t Bridget Jones. Gone.
Ulysses by James Joyce. Gone—I even refrained from the ceremonial burning.

[Um, I rescued that one. I’m never going to read it, but we might want to rant about it someday… R.D.] Bryce Courtenay’s Tandia. Gone.

‘What are you doing?’, said Rory. So Tandia stayed.

(That was half a shelf we could have used for something else!)

Next: The Silmarillion. It may be the only book I’ve tried to read more than 4 times (and failed). Rory too. And we had 2 copies.

‘I’m keeping mine,’ I told Rory. ‘My mum bought it for me.’

‘Mine has teenage significance. And it’s older than yours. Unlike you, I’m actually going to read mine, one day.’


But we don’t need this book, do we? It’s falling to bits.

‘No…’ he said, pouting. ‘I suppose it could go.’

Half an hour later, it was back.

After all this, it was only fair we kept my copy of The Hobbit—a present from my favourite family friend, which became my favourite book.

‘Well, mine was a Christmas present from my mum and dad when I was 8. Mine stays.’

So now there are 2. And all the rest. The spiders are subletting.

We tried…

Messy bookshelf after cleanup