Musing Mondays: Book communing


Does your house have a communal bookshelf? If not, is your bookshelf centrally located so everyone has access to it?

Our house is a divided country when it comes to bookshelves. Actually, it’s more akin to bordering states than a civil war but we aren’t into communal shelving.

I have bookshelves in my office. Virtually all the books are ones I’ve purchased or received, although there’s a number that might be considered “joint property.” My wife and I each have our own bookshelf next to our side of the bed, both of which are independent islands. My wife also has bookshelves in what is somewhat her “work room,’ although it also holds a number of the books we bought for the kids as they were growing up. Each of my three daughters has their own set of bookshelves in their own room. Finally, there is a bookshelf in our front room that is a bit more communal but only in the sense it tends to collect books people have finished and either have yet to move to their own bookshelves or to the latest designated receptacle for books heading to the used bookstore.

Generally, anyone is free to peruse anyone else’s bookshelf. I’m not sure of the borrowing rules among my daughters but they — and my wife — are free to borrow any of my books as long as the book ends up back where it belongs. That, though, is a “rule” that tends to arise more in breach than in practice.

The only issue that occasionally arises is the desire to have even more bookshelves in our home, something none of us see as a bad thing.

No possession can surpass, or even equal, a good library, to the lover of books.

John A. Langford, The Praise of Books

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