I buy a lot of books. Online, in stores, any day, any time, put it on credit and gimme gimme gimme. I have these bursts of manic book panic where I will suddenly shift my browser to the nearest online bookstore, kidding myself that I am going to purchase one particular book that I require for research, then, like a shuddery addict, discretely throw a few more into the basket because why not? I’m here. And this is the last time. The last time. I swear.
Deliveries arrive all the time. From inside the house I’ll hear the dull thwack of parcel landing on stoop then wrench the door open to grab at them like a pre-coffee Gollum. Oftentimes I will rip open the cardboard to find something I have completely forgotten I ordered, then carefully, lovingly settle it onto the leaning tower of novels next to my bed. One day this pile will topple over and kill me, which will be a fitting end.
Last weekend we were forced to make a trip to Ikea to buy another bookcase because the old one is starting to groan beneath the weight of all the books crammed in at all angles. Normally I avoid Ikea because it is the place young couples go to scream at each other to the point of break up whilst waving little pencils and paper measuring tapes, however desperate times… As we entered the Great Hall or whatever it is called, we promised each other that no matter what happened inside, we could come out the other end stronger as a couple. Then we ploughed through the various sections – the plywood and Allen wrench equivalent of the nine circles of hell – until we found our new BILLY. We almost didn’t make it; there was a minor incident over the confusing labelling of the Ikea boxes but we snapped ourselves out of our tension by grabbing each other’s forearms and shrieking ‘We’re better than this! We won’t let Ikea win!’
At home, my boyfriend assembled young BILLY whilst I pranced about the living room, helpfully making lists of all the new books I would need to buy to fill it.