International Day of the Book

Kim & Scott's small footprint ©apartment therapy

This would be today. Declared as International Day of the Book by UNESCO in 1995, this is an event to celebrate books and literature – we were made aware of it this morning when we were served lots of quotes from famous books with our breakfast on NDR radio – by the way: never mind that this is a German radio station… all of the quotes were  from well-known English/American books – hmpf, maybe I missed the German book quotes… 🙂

This brings me to the problem of “where do you store books”. Looking at the Small Cool Contest 2012 on apartment therapy, it appears that people don’t have that many books – or maybe they were hiding them for the pictures? After we downsized from sharing a house to our 2-room-mini apartment we have been continuously wrestling with storage problems. Parting with possessions wasn’t so hard after having shared the house with a hoarder for a year (the kind of person where you needed a snow-shovel to get through their room… you had to be there to have witnessed it). So giving away, we did. Still, together we own a large collection of music books, sheet music, books related to work/uni which is the biggest lot and then add cookbooks (because who can say no to a good cookbook?) and some fiction/novels. To this, one should add the amount of paper (notes, documents,contracts, bills, statements etc) that also need to be stored. Where did the contest participants put all theirs? Did they all scan their paperwork and put it online? But what if you get asked for the originals as you frequently do in the UK? Important questions! And to all of this you add our 2 bikes – although it looks like you can store even 4 in a small space like here:

Isobel's creativity on the wall ©apartment therapy - and she does have books too, check out the rest of her place!

Not fit for a photo-contest, ours looks more like this:

our bike storage - not a very tidy moment in time...

Coming back to my book storage question – and I have been told to get a Kindle (and I actually got one! and I like it too!), but it’s just not the same as a real book. With a real book, you sit back on the sofa/curl up in bed/or bathtub and you smell the pages, you can drop in the water and it will dry and you can keep reading, not so much luck with electronic appliances (and after drowning my phone I know what I’m speaking about).

And one last thing (although with the deficit in insulation on this island – as well as some student flats at home – probably a good point) I’d like to quote my friend from uni, Dr. W., who said on a memorable occasion when we were sitting in a coffee shop debating what classes we wanted/needed to take next term, and upon seeing one of his friends riding by on a bike carrying under his arm a huge box containing the complete Goethe collection by publisher Reclam:”Books – they insulate”.

In the end, good books, whether on paper, Kindle or iPad, are a fantastic tool to shape our worlds and imaginations. They expand our thinking, make us forget our worries, and make us discover new worlds. And aren’t our favourite characters in our most beloved books not like old friends, who we miss once we have finished reading and who, perhaps, inspire us? When I went to school I used to put people in reading/non-reading categories and later realised that I could not be friends with people who didn’t read much i.e. didn’t keep books in their homes (that was pre-electronic age!). Somehow my imagination was too much for them or I couldn’t get used to the idea of their lack in creativity – it just didn’t work out. We need books in our lives, so give us creative/suitable/designer and hacker ideas where and how we can store books in our places, because literature, like all the arts, is important!

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