I hope that when you visit my blog it doesn’t take you long to realise that books are an integral part of my life. I love my local library, and the Little Free Library just down the road (but the Little Free Pantry next to it has won my heart!). However, I also have many shelves of books.
As a child I fancied myself as an architect and still love plans of houses. My dream houses I created always included a library. While I don’t have a separate room, I did get bespoke bookshelves made in the lounge. After 20 years I still love them, and get great joy from seeing the books there.
During the time the hallway was in a state of disrepair, many of my books ended up in boxes and languished in storage for too many years. Then the boxes came home and piled up around the place until the carpet went down. (I didn’t want to put them in the bookcases before the carpet went down because I knew we would never get the hall finished. You know how these things go.)
So, recently, not only have I had the pleasure of new carpet, I have also had the joy of putting my books onto the bookshelves, two which are in the ‘new’ hall.
I have sorted and categorised ~ I was a librarian! ~ art books, history books, 20th Century novels, novels from earlier times, 21st Century novels, science books, crime novels, sci fi, travel, memoirs, and children’s books. It makes my heart sing to see that they have space, that they are organised, that they are not higgly piggly in random piles and boxes, and that I have room for more!
I have room because I have removed books from the collection. As many of you would appreciate, this was hard. I have donated some to the Little Free Library and lots to the op shop. However, some have gone to recycling. It makes me sad to think of these authors and their work just tossed away. A number of you are authors and I know how much love and care you put into every word you write. It is such a shame to toss these books, but I need the space. (Please, no comments about digital books needing less space; they are just not the same!)
But some of them haven’t made it to the recycling bin just yet. More on that in a moment…..
You may not know that I volunteer once a week in the library of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, housed in the National Herbarium of Victoria. As you can imagine the library is an extensive collection of books and journals related to botany and botanical history. It also houses collections of botanical art works, photographs and slides, maps and so on.
Recently I have been barcoding the bound journals, where some series reach back into the 1800s.
It is very mindless ~ take the journal off the shelf, open the back cover, add the barcode, close the book, place it on the shelf, repeat over 1000 times more! However its mindlessness is very soothing, and just what I have been needing.
Which brings me to what I recently learnt about books. I have always known that books take me away to unexpected worlds. They have a therapeutic effect. I remember surviving heart-break as a young thing by devouring Zane Grey novels. They were the perfect escape route and quickly took me away from my pain, but I have never read another since!
By barcoding the journals and sorting my books I learnt another life lesson from books ~ that their very presence soothes me, and handling them, sorting them, looking at them, brings me a great sense of calm. ~Sigh~
And I haven’t quite let go of those recycled books, because I am turning them into Christmas trees!
My book themed Christmas trees began after Dale posted about her recycled tree. A comment she made about trees created with books caught my eye. After about an hour I had created my own…..out of books. My brother cleverly called it the Tree of Knowledge!
Down in the rabbit hole created by a search of “Christmas trees books” I came across folded trees. Paper, books, origami ~ what’s not to love? I rummaged in the recycle box, found a couple of paperbacks and tore them apart. Yep, that was hard to do too, as I find turning down a corner of the page as a book mark difficult! But I loved the result, especially of the first one.
Then I made a larger one from an old magazine. The coloured pages gave a really good effect.
Even the stars are made from pages. This website has all you need to know to make the stars, including how to make a square into a pentagon, which you need as a starter shape. This video will show you how to fold the basic trees.
So, the perfect Christmas trees ~ no messy needles, no watering, no plastic, easy to pack away as they are recyclable and certainly, for the pile of books, reusable…. simply put them back on the shelf!
How have books been integrated into your Christmas this year?
BTW, in the new year I will post about my favourite books of 2019, but I know that Insomniac City by Bill Hayes will be on the list.