Monday, 11 March 2013


Finally, at the age of 64, I've got something I've wanted for almost all my adult life -a room to tidily display my book collection. I call it my book room and sometimes I call it Fifi's room for reasons to be mentioned later. It's taken me four weeks to get it almost right. I say almost because financial constraints inevitably force limitations.

Okay, going clockwise from the outside wall we encounter-

-Billy the White Shelving Unit from Ikea which was put together from kit form by one of my several friends who are called Ian. It's an eclectic selection. The bottom two shelves are full of books about comics, graphic novels, and their creators. Above them are digest-sized graphic novels and a few novel novels. Then there's music shelf -books about music,  mostly the Blues, along with three massive box sets. Add some more graphic novels selected by size and a top shelf of various non fiction which includes political diaries by my retired MP Chris Mullin, the English language, and Buddhism.

These weren't built as bookshelves but I'd be willing to bet that you'd never guess what they orginally were for even though it's sort of obvious when you see it. In the mid-90's Sunderland Public Libraries decided to get rid of vinyl albums and, rather than just chuck them out, I was offered the chance to take the display stands to convert as book shelves. In their original state, they sat horizontally on top of a waist high cupboard and the lps were placed standing up in them.

The contents, with one exception, completely consist of graphic novels, nearly all my favourites with a number of them in expensive  oversized editions -note The Sandman series, Watchmen and V For Vendetta.

This is a converted cupboard with pipes boxed in and shelves added. Mostly it houses my DVDs sorted into rough categories like TV, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Asian movies, etc.

 And here we have Billy the Brown shelves. I was so pleased with the previous one that I bought these to replace a couple of smaller and crappier cheap units. I even, gasp, put them up myself. This may not sound much to you but I was the kid who got chucked out of Woodwork at school because I might hurt myself and my dexterity and practical skills haven't improved such since then. But I watched t'other Ian putting up the white unit and it didn't seem that difficult. And it wasn't and I was really pleased with myself until I realised that on each unit I'd put one piece in the wrong way round and couldn't fix it without pulling them to pieces and starting nearly from scratch. You won't be surprised to learn that I said 'sod that' to myself. You can just see which ones they are even on this photo but it could be worse and I did put them both together they way they were supposed to go.

The top two shelves on the left are books about tv and cinema, all Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror related as anyone who knows me would expect. The rest are graphic novels.

 An old unit with its twin being in the kitchen and, like it, is Science Fiction and Fantasy, including a shelf full of Terry Pratchett. Unlike the unit in the kitchen, I can honestly say I've read all of them bar one.

 This is a converted cupboard containing comics I bought before I went completely over to graphic novels, all my Horror DVDs including a large (and nearly complete) collection of Godzilla movies, plus Buffy, Angel, Babylon 5, and X-files sets.

One the bottom shelf you may have noticed Fifi. Except when she dares to venture downstairs to the living room where rarely moves from the padded top of an armchair, she spends the rest of the time here which is why I sometimes call it Fifi's room. The reason she more or less lives here is because one of my other cats chases her.

 I love just going into the room at looking at it all.

Now what can I put in the middle of the room?

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