Wednesday, April 10, 2024

On Commingling -- BOOK THOUGHTS

On Commingling

Do you commingle your books?
My husband and I commingle our finances, and even our music CDs. But we would no sooner commingle our books as we would our socks!

The picture above is a snapshot of my husband's shelves in our home library. We may keep our books separate, but I get the lion’s share of shelf space. He gets this wall. I, on the other hand, get two walls in this room, another wall in a den downstairs, two built in bookcases in the living room plus a freestanding bookcase, a bedroom bookcase, shelves in my home office, and built in shelves in the kitchen for my cookbooks. 

The inequity in distributed shelf space is perfectly justifiable, even reasonable. I simply own and read more books than he does. He mostly reads history books, which are on these shelves. They are dense and big and take a long time to get through. He just finished a biography of Oliver Cromwell that, I swear, weighed four pounds. When he wants a “light” read, he turns to general nonfiction or adventure nonfiction. He loves a good shipwreck or mountain adventure. There is nothing he likes better than getting to the part of an adventure book where the explorer's journal notes, "And then we had to eat the sled dogs." 

When he does read fiction, which is rarely, he visits my shelves. I did get him to start reading Slow Horses right now, before we watch the show. However, he's already creased the spine, which makes me shudder every time I see it. I think I prefer it when he doesn't read my books, even if it means we can never share the experience of reading the same book. Unless I want to read about ship wreaks and sled dogs. 

There's another reason Hubby can't complain about me hoggin the bookshelf space. He has a vinyl LP collection (jazz mostly) that takes up almost as much room as my books. 

So, do you share shelf space with your family or do you all stake out your own territory? Or, as Anne Fadiman describes it, are you a lumper or a splitter?

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