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· Fine Book Collecting,Nova Scotia,Bookcases,Book Storage,Book Placement

For anyone who collects (read accumulates) books knows the horror of books piling up on the floor! When this happens, you can do one or more of three things – stop buying books, ditch books, or get another bookcase.

Just a few nights ago, our daughter, Adrienne, sent along this lovely little titbit:

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She knows me so well!

At the beginning of 2021, there were 18 bookcases in our house. Our personal collections had 8

and Raven & Gryphon Fine Books had 10. And there were books throughout the house on various flat surfaces. Our son, Gregory, was appalled when he came home to see hundreds of books covering the surface of “our” snooker table. Sorry, son!

Getting desperate, we put a classified ad in the local community newspaper, The Masthead News, back in November – looking to acquire bookcases. We had two responses. A gentleman who lived about 15 minutes away and I went to look at the 2 bookcases he had. Nope – they were a bit convoluted with drawers and stuff – so I passed. The second response was from a woman about 25 minutes away and based on our conversation and the photos she sent, it looked promising. The day before I was scheduled to go look at them, she contacted me to say she had changed her mind. Sigh.

Then, a week ago Thursday, she contacted me to say that she was willing to sell them. Four hours later, I was looking them over. I tried to dicker – a la Monty Python! Nope. She was firm in her asking price. She said that she didn’t need to sell them just now, but she thought that here was someone who truly needed them. I respected her for that and I said – Yes - done deal!

Last Saturday, I recruited an old friend and a steady hand in our book business, Gary Humphries, when we go to fairs and festivals – read 2019 not 2020. And Gary recruited a neighbour who had a truck. Oh baby – do you know how much a solid mahogany bookcase weighs? More drag than lift, I will tell you. Although, it was a gentle, protective drag, for each of the bookcases. And saying farewell to the seller, just before we headed out – she said “I am comfortable and happy now that I know these bookcases are going to a good home.” I have heard this many times re books but this is the first time I have heard this re bookcases. And I understand her 100%. I love our bookcases, too.

By Saturday night, one week ago, two beautiful, and large, bookcases joined the Raven & Gryphon crowd – now 12 strong!

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The real work was just beginning. And not done yet! Introducing more shelf space provides the opportunity to realign books into different gatherings and collections. I have done this so many times. I told Glenda that this will take weeks. It is work. It is pain. It is a joy to see books come together that had been scattered around.

As you can see in the pictures, one bookcase is done. It now holds most of the Canadiana that we have for sale. The larger Canadian art books are on the top of the shorter bookcase, immediately to the left of the bookcase. The left half of the bookcase houses Atlantic Canadian books and the right side, the rest of Canada.

And as you can see the other new bookcase, to the right, is empty. I am cogitating. I have already moved military books from a small bookcase and scattered locations to a larger bookcase that did have a lot of Canadiana in it – but is now empty. The reallocation of books is somewhere between the game of chess and the game of dominos. I can’t tell you how many times last night, that a partial shelf full of books fell over.

Soon, the reconfiguration will be done. I will step back and say to myself – DONE! And it looks great. And then new acquisitions will arrive and demand space. And piles will grow and I will reach out for new bookcases…

But, orders will come in and whisk books off existing shelves. Just today, a book I put into the new bookcase last night, one that was one of the first books we put up on the internet in the fall of 2017, was sold via Abebooks. Now there is a hole on the shelf of bookcase No. 11.


Hot damn!