A little while ago I had a realisation about my family. It was when I was getting ready to throw away a few trashy books, carefully selected in an effort to tidy my mind as well as my bedroom (The Twilight Saga being the main offender). Of course, I wouldn’t re-house them without running them past Mum first.
As she was checking the pile of rejects I looked around our living room, lined with book cases, packed tightly – and that’s before you take into account the piles of books which tend to develop on the floor and other surfaces.
When people walk into our house for the first time they often make comments like, ‘Wow, you have a lot of books!’ I never thought about it because it’s normal for us. We’ve always had books. They’re a huge part of our lives.
Maybe being home-educated there was more cause for a constant supply, the house being a ‘school’ as well as a home. Or maybe it’s simply because Mum loves books. She always got us a huge pile of them for Christmas. We weren’t to touch them with ‘sticky fingers’ and we treated library books with the same care, after the obligatory spray of Detol on the cover. They went back cleaner than they came!
Books aren’t to be thrown away or damaged in our house – they are to be well-treated and loved. They’re like pets: they’re part of the family.
‘We kind of think of books as being sacred, don’t we?’ I observed, without much seriousness.
Mum looked up at me, crouched over the pile of books.
Deliberate cough. ‘Excuse me?’
‘We think books are sacred.’
I sighed. ‘Okay, books are sacred.’
‘That’s better,’ she said, with a wink and a smile.
Perhaps we give books too much significance – they’re not all the Bible after all. Not all books are worth their weight in paper, so Mum gave her blessing for me to get rid of the ones that were on trial.
Yesterday Mum had a look through one of the bookshelves and picked out some that she didn’t want to keep. If we’re being honest, there are a few that we haven’t read and will never read. Others we’ve read once – and even once was more than enough. So she removed a few from the shelf for good (after she checked with us, of course).
Perhaps it’s a case of: All books are ‘sacred’, but some are more ‘sacred’ than others. I had some great new books for Christmas. Now I just need to make room for them.