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text 2019-01-14 08:27
Voici! or, Mischief Managed.

From atop a ladder, just after I finished putting the last of MT's books up.


The view from ground level.  Not as invisible as I thought it would be, but not unpleasingly overpowering at all either.  Very happy with the result, if also a tad depressed about how little shelf space this actually freed up for me.  


I swear the books expand to fill the space without any help from me.

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text 2019-01-13 03:22
Notes from a desperate bibliophile: the 2019 edition

Yesterday, I posted a teaser photo of a project I'd tackled:



Like any self-respecting bibliophile, I lie awake at night (ok, mornings) and contemplate how I can manipulate time and space to create more room for books.  Several weeks ago, as I lie contemplating, and imagining someday turning my room into a library (were we to ever renovate), I noticed the space above my wardrobes:




I'm thinking to myself: that's a lot of wasted space ... I could pile books up there, but that would look messy.  And desperate; maybe a tiny bit hoarder-ish.  But if I put shelves up there...


So I started looking around, and found nothing that wasn't cheap particleboard/MDF, and it wasn't actually cheap.  Nor anything that would look right.  Then I started imagining what "right" would look like, and I realised it didn't have to be complicated.  Sturdy, yes, but otherwise, the simpler the better.


I am a crap carpenter, but I can do simple.  Especially if I can get cut to measure lumber.  A quick bit of searching and I found a place 10 minutes away that would cut anything except plywood for free.  (The big box hardware store - a store I hate on principle - only does it in certain locations, though they don't tell you which ones, and charge you for each cut.)


I measured, then sketched out what I wanted/needed, and headed to the lumber/timber store.  An incredibly nice, patient staff member helped me out, showing me the pine posts I'd planned to use.  He got called away just long enough for me to spot the Cypress posts they had in stock, and when he returned saw me admiring them. He made the off-hand comment that they were much cheaper than the pine, which was pressure treated; something I'd wanted to avoid.  Then he helped me decide how to do the tops and fronts without using plywood, pick out all the wood, and then he cut it all to size for me.  Total cost for all the wood, some L-brackets and a packet of self-drilling screws (best. invention. ever):  less than $250AU (about$180US).


MT was on the sidelines due to a painful rheumatism flare-up, which he was not happy about, but while I was out running around the lumber-yard, he was using the time wisely.  He pulled all his books off the top of the bookcase they'd been piled on precariously, in preparation for their new home. 



He refused to take a picture of what they'd looked like before on the grounds that he wasn't sure he couldn't be charged with reckless endangerment after the fact.  But to give you an idea: he had 151 books piled on top of an extended IKEA Billy Bookcase (the wide one).


I got home and sealed it all up with a clear acrylic; cypress has to be sealed but the grain was too beautiful to hide.  At the same time, MT painted the top boards black - they were untreated pine and soooo did not match the cypress.  Not even in a funky, eclectic, non-matchy way.



That was all yesterday.  This morning, I marked everything up and stared putting it all together:




There are two sizes:  25cm (~10 inches) and 50cm (~20 inches).  There's a hardwood cross-bar in the front of each one to act as a back-stop for the books that sit in front.  16 screws hold each unit together.  Since they're sitting on wardrobes that are a bit over 3 meters (just over 12 feet) high, I did not stress the finishing touches, like covering the screws.


The hardest part was getting them up on top of the 'robes - they're HEAVY.  But once we did:


They fit just as I'd hoped they would, and now give us three tiers of space for the books we want to keep, but likely won't need to access more than a couple of times a year, if that.


We're in the process of combing through the library for the books to add, but here's what it looks like so far.  



I'll post a final picture once all the books are up there (we had to take a break; it's like the stairmaster from hell hauling the books up the ladder). 

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text 2019-01-12 09:00
There's an air of desperation at la casa de los libros


Stay tuned... hopefully this is going to work...

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text 2018-10-28 22:20
Houston, we had a problem ...

... and it was called books.  Stacks of unsorted books, to be precise.  Three years' worth of stacks of unsorted books, to be even more precise.



Now, even back in 2015, after the last major overhaul of my bookshelves, those were already looking like this:

... in other words, no room to spare in the lodging house.  None.  Whatsoever.


Obviously (and as evidenced above), that state of affairs did not stop me in the least from buying more books, nor from happily receiving books as gifts.  Yet, for a long while I didn't know how and where to conjure the extra space needed to house all those new arrivals.


Then earlier this year MbD posted about her own ingenious solution, inspired by this post on do-it-yourself book risers ... and I began fiddling with ideas how I could make this work for my home without having to engage in any crafts(wo)manship that would have been decidedly above my abilities.


Well, after some research, interrupted by a sustained period of unwelcome RL interference, go figure at last ... IKEA to the rescue.  Turns out their shelf inserts all have the same depth as their bookcases, so those were not the answer, but they also sell a nice wooden spice rack about half as deep as most my bookcases, which I found would (standing upside down) work very well as a riser covering a fair part of the length of each shelf of my cases.  So, I loaded a shopping cart full of enough crates of those things to spice up an entire army kitchen's output if I had actually intended to use them as spice racks and, once back home, started putting them together.  A few hours and slight weals on several of my fingers later, I was left with more hex keys than I will ever need again in my life ... and a tidy stack of book risers, ready to be inserted wherever needed (i.e., pretty much on every single shelf).



And, boy, did this ever do the trick!


In one case, I even have an entire shelf to spare at the moment ... which is probably a good thing, however, as the Nordic lit on the shelf right next to it is already elbowing for more space.


Only the Bard will have to be granted a bookcase of his own sooner rather than later -- he's crowding out his fellow Renaissance playwrights as it is, even with the extra space ... not to mention the rest of the BritLit shelves right below.


But my horror and fantasy books are no longer jostling for space with each other, nor with the (British) historical fiction in the bookcase below.


And I'm particularly happy I found room for virtually all of my mystery collection, which bulged into a downright indecent size once and for all last year with my discovery of all those recently-unearthed Golden Age mysteries -- not to mention my ever-growing collection of books by Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly, Val McDermid, and Peter May (and my P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, Colin Dexter, Elizabeth George, and Martha Grimes collections).


Now the Golden Age mysteries have taken over the first 2 of the 3 individual bookcases forming the lower part of my crime fiction wall, with seperate shelves in the first case for the pioneering masters (including all things Sherlock Holmes), Dame Agatha, Dorothy L. Sayers and the other queens of crime (Marsh, Wentworth, Tey, Heyer, and Mitchell), and the other members of the Detection Club and their contemporaries in the second bookcase (even with some place to spare there, too).


I'm still going to need at least one extra bookcase to take care of some "leftovers" (and, well, to store some other stuff, too) -- and I also still have to invent some space somewhere for an extra British history (nonfiction) shelf ... and for an audiobook CD rack or three.  But considering what, for the longest time, I thought I was looking at, all this is an absolute pittance.


So, thank you again MbD for sharing your solution ... my adaptation of it has worked an absolute treat!

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text 2018-09-27 00:35
Today's SOS Book Shelf BINGO call is "Own It"
Dark Queen - Faith Hunter

Just starting this one for Book Shelf BINGO.


I think it's the last, #12, in the series (or at least the last so far published).

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