I am reaching the end of my lengthy library rearrangements and I am pooped. My cuticles are ragged, my knuckles skinned and all my muscles ache – who knew that shifting books was such an extreme sport? I’ve been so caught up in this task that yesterday I actually forgot an appointment with a student. And of course, she was not one of the 50% who don’t bother to turn up! How mortifying.

But there are plenty of surprises along the way when you go through all your books. I have discovered about 50 historical novels that I did not realise I had:

But where will I put them?


I can remember picking up a bargain pack of five Elizabeth Chadwick novels, and the Philipa Gregory’s I’ve had for years. But the rest were brought by the fairies in the night. I was thinking that I might have a historical binge in August, which is a time of year when I can never be bothered to read anything serious.

I have also restocked my crime shelves. No wonder I had been looking at them without interest lately. I didn’t realise that I’d pretty much read everything on them, or indeed, that I had enough in the TBR to re-fill them again (they are not ALL new, I wish to point out, to Mister Litlove if no one else!). But it’s very exciting to think I have a lot of crime fiction that is new to read. My Dad was asking about them in an email today, so here you go Dad, lending library open on its usual terms!


No, I am not being sandbagged from behind, I just can’t take a photo straight.


Oh and incidentally, Dad, that pile on the left is pretty much all the books I’ve borrowed from you! If anyone is intrigued by the penguin, it belongs to my son, and will dance when you press his beak.

Well, I don’t intend to do this for another 7 years, with a bit of luck. I should be writing reviews of the excellent books I’ve been reading this week, not to mention catching up on comments or emails, but I am going to have a rest instead. We have a three day weekend here in the UK, so I will catch up over its course.

22 thoughts on “Surprises

  1. Won’t have to do this big moving around of books for another seven years? My you are optimisitc aren’t you? 😉 I was wondering about the penguin, he looks pretty cute. Have a nice and restful weekend hopefully reading lots of those books or at leat admiring all your hard work!

    • Ha! Too true – I hope to have seven clear years, but I guess it depends on how much I manage to restrain myself in bookstores… We’ve had a very nice weekend – my brother and his family visited, the house is clean and I’ve had some delightful reading time. Hope you are having a lovely weekend too!

  2. Lucky dad–you have quite a nice selection of crime novels it looks like! And so many Elizabeth Chadwick’s, too! I was just thinking I should read her–an entirely different era to read about for a change, but I am going to be good and stick with my current reads pile. (Well, that’s what I’m telling myself anyway). Just curious–who wrote the book New York in the historical fiction pile? It caught my eye (they all did actually, but I don’t need anymore temptation). Anytime you want to come by and help organize my shelves you’re most welcome–they are an awful mess, but I think I’ve outgrown the space they are in. Yours look all spiffy now! Have a great weekend!

    • I would love to get my hands on your shelves! I’m always intrigued to know what you have on them. : ) The New York book is by Edward Rutherford (I’m looking forward to it but need to be in the move for a chunkster). I really should read some of the historical novels – they look great! But like you, I am trying to be good and stick to my schedule. But when the summer comes I definitely think I’ll get into some historical reading and will probably try and twist your arm to join me! 🙂

  3. First, let me say your shelves are lovely and the fact that they are so well organized…well that is worth a few chapped cuticles is it not? 🙂 I am with Margret who commented in the last post that she would not complain if she had to stay in your spare room, covered in books!
    BTW, there is a super interesting discussion on the guardian’s website, about what is or isn’t a historical novel :
    I have read two Phillipa Gregory books (The Queen’s Fool and The other Boleyn Girl). I know a lot of readers have descried them for being anachronistic and/or historically inexact, and I wouldn’t disagree with that, but I found them to be entertaining and fast reads. I see you have Forever Amber as well. I read that last year. It owes A LOT to Gone with the Wind, maybe not quite as much as La Bicyclette Bleue by Régine Deforges, but I enjoyed it anyway. I recently read the Somnambulist, but I am afraid my expectations were too high and I was a bit disappointed. But I would gladly read Essie Fox’s follow up.
    All the other books I can’t either see well enough to recognize or I have never heard of them. Elizabeth Chadwick. Would you (or any of the commenters) recommend her?

    • Thank you for the link – what an interesting debate! History was the greatest weakness of my school – I spent three years on mott and bailey castles, drew a few cannons and zipped through Henry VIII’s wives and that was about it. I’m not fussed overly about complete accuracy, given that history itself is fictional in places, and I’m not about to check out stories with the encyclopedia. I don’t want authors to run amok with the facts, but I’m okay with entertainment value! I’ve only read one Elizabeth Chadwick novel, I am ashamed to say, considering I own so many, but I really did enjoy it. It was very entertaining, and I get the impression that she is slightly more accurate than Philippa Gregory (but probably not by much). I am going to read another in summer, for sure, and will report back on it then. 🙂

  4. oh, I just figured out how to enlarge the photos and now I can read all the titles.:0 I am now going to spend some quality time gazing at your books!

  5. I used to feel TBR’s are a burden. But later I thought of another way to look at them, I mean, these are your books, your own personal library. They are your assets, not liabilities. After all, who has ever read every book in a library? Litlove, you have some wonderful assets. 😉

    • I DO indeed have wonderful assets! 🙂 I am good with my TBR pile – it feels like a huge and wonderful mattress to me, something that buffets me from the knocks and bumps of the present and the future. And I love it when I want to find some information about something – an author, a movement – and I know I have a book that will help me that I own already. If I didn’t have a huge pile of unread books awaiting me, ah, THEN I’d be terribly anxious! 🙂

  6. Very smart bookcases! Though if they were mine, I’d be wondering how long it would be before small piles started on those tempting top bits…and then there’s the rogue double-parking that begins as soon as we turn our backs…

    • ‘rogue double parking’ – I love it! What a great description of something that will all too soon start happening! They won’t stay neat for long – as you so correctly imagine. 🙂

  7. I now have complete book shelving envy. 🙂

    Someday I will have a proper library, complete with grouping by topic and author…

    • Oh indeed you will. I spend a long time wanting my library before I got it – years and years in fact. Have loads of fun building up your collection for that happy day. 🙂

  8. Good job Litlove, it looks like you deserve the long weekend!

    When I moved house recently and had to move and reorganize my books, I’m afraid I became rather manic aka caught up in the task. It’s best for my personal relationships that I don’t do it too often.

    Looking at your crime shelf, I’d heartily recommend the Sarah Caudwell and Reginald Hill (may they both RIP).

    • It’s hard to stop once you’ve started, isn’t it? Just before going to bed, I’d find myself, pile of books in my arms, thinking I’d ‘just’ get this or that bit sorted. It’s a relief that most of it is neat and organised now. I confess the Sarah Caudwell are books I have read, but loved so much I didn’t want to store or cull. But Reginald Hill I haven’t really read – only one novel a couple of years ago. I will definitely pick him up again soon.

    • The dancing penguin is soooo cute! And I do wish we could exchange books. I would give a great deal to be able to make a tour of all my blog friends’ bookcases! 🙂

  9. Love the shelves and that’s an impressive collection of historical novels just waiting to be read. I’m always amazed at the amount of books you get through. And those are just one genre!

    • Pete, I promise you I put my back into it! Plus, I don’t have a full time job any more or – far more disruptive – a young child. I remember how I longed for time to read when my son was small! It was like a physical ache. But it comes back eventually, thank goodness.

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