You may have wandered into that sacred section of a library before, and seen a pleasant-looking desk by the window. You may have observed that this particular desk would be a good place to read whatever book you may have been carrying, or you may just have wanted to kill some time at said location.
However, when you approach the desk you begin to see an invasion of books. Not rough, hap-hazard mountains, but sleek, neat, deliberate, towers of books marking the territory of the person who has scrawled a hand-written note on some half-torn sheet from a notebook: do not move.
You wonder how many of those books could be useful to someone else as they sit there, one on top of the other, their exposed spines fading in the sunlight. It is sad. It always has been sad. Can someone really need all those books?
Maybe you know where this is going…a confession, an admission. I have become part of that species that marks their territory with book towers. Before me now, I see books that I haven’t even got round to reading yet, neatly(ish) stacked, ready and waiting for my curious eyes to glance at them and to weigh their worth. Do I feel ashamed? No. Enlightened? Somewhat. And, indeed, relieved.
I’m getting through a number of books a day and due to a recent over-ambitious shopping trip (where the vegetables on both handlebars and weighing my bag down started to have a noticeable effect on the bounce of my bicycle tyres), I am extremely glad not to have to travel back and forth with books (and indeed, so is my back).
Instead, I wander into the library, past the book-towers of fellow researchers, find a book, peruse it, take it out, not stuffing it in an already at-capacity rucksack of apples, but leaving it
with its friends,
in its tower,
on my desk.