Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Books, books, books...

I am pleased to say that the Maps and Map-Makers book is en route to America, where I hope it will be enjoyed by Karin's brother. The clearance of the library has taken on a new urgency and it will have to be far more drastic than simple decluttering. The room is to be transformed, within ten days, into a bed-sitting room for my 92 year old mother in-law She has become very frail since Christmas and daily visits to her retirement apartment are no longer enough for our peace of mind. We are now hoping for a miracle that will find a builder who is willing and able to install a shower room on the ground floor for us!

While husband is out and about on that mission, I have been packing boxes with books. I haven't yet decided whether to be ruthless and simply ring a charity to collect them, or to sort them into categories - those I would really like to keep, those that friends and family members might like etc. I expect that Time will be the deciding factor.

I am taking a short break from packing boxes, sitting here with a cup of tea and trying hard not to panic at the thought of the scale of the task facing us and, beyond that, the changes coming into our life. To relieve the tension, I thought I would look at some of the books that I had for Christmas. They are waiting safely on my bedside table so that there is no risk of them falling into one of the boxes.

I still haven't read Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. I had planned to do that in readiness for the discussion on her other books Gilead and Home, but to date only one person has shown any interest in that discussion. I have noticed a resurgence of interest in Gilead on several book blogs, so perhaps that discussion might yet take place. Do let me know if you are interested.

The books in this particular pile have been chosen for their undemanding nature. I have a feeling that I will be needing something to help me relax at the end of the next few days.


  1. You and your husband are wonderful to be taking your mother-in-law in.

  2. Carolyn, it would have been the natural thing to do just a generation ago. Isn't it strange that our lifestyle should change so drastically in such a short space of time? Right now, I'm ashamed to say that I don't feel wonderful, just rather afraid!

  3. I'm with Carolyn on this one!
    Can I suggest that you do not too hastily give all the books away immediately. As you know I have done a fair bit of moving around in my time and used always to simplify things by getting rid of most of the books, but then would find myself buying many of the same volumes again! It might be a comfort for you in the days ahead to know that there are some dear old friends waiting to be de-boxed at a future date.

  4. I understand you fear. My mother lived with me the last two years of her life. I have no doubt that you will be up to whatever is required of you. Plus, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have done what is right. God bless you, your husband and your mother-in-law.

  5. Thank you, Carolyn. That is very comforting, coming from one who has been there before us.

    Crinny, wise as ever!

  6. Oh my goodness, M, that is a huge adjustment to make and my thoughts will be with you all. If you need practical support - or simply want to come over and flop on the sofa with a cup of tea - just let me know; I'm not that far away. I think Crinny is right about the books though ...

    I too am at the start of a major decluttering, as serious downsizing could be happening in the not too distant future.

  7. D, thank you. I'll ring you about that cup of tea!

    To all friends - you concern and support are greatly appreciated. We have talked through the disposal of books etc and decided to hire a storage unit for 6 months so that we can do things in an orderly way. I am concentrating on simply putting things in boxes in a moderately ordered fashion for now. Mxxx

  8. The storage unit sounds like a brilliant idea. And if things get too much you can go and sleep in it for a night!! Did the MM find a builder?

  9. No builder yet, Crinny. We are waiting for someone to call to look at the space we have and advise us on what can be done. I thought the recession would have builders rushing to our door but not yet.

  10. Maureen very best of luck with your new situation.
    I do hope you enjoy Nella Last's War - I found it amazing -for the character as much as the fascinating insight into that whole event referred to my parents as 'during the war'.


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