The table of shame...

Not the kitchen table - that has now gone back.

This is my bedside table. I like to have a book on the go; in fact several books. What I am not so good at is doing something with them once I have read them. The piles of books have now reached the stage where I have to move them as they have now become unstable, and if the cat decides to go marauding in the night and drink my bedside water (one of her less endearing habits) loud clattery disaster will follow.

This is what is on my table:

Bernard Cornwell: Wild Track

Gerald Durrell: A Zoo in my Luggage

Monica Dickens: Summer at World's End

Evelyn Smith: Phyllida of Form III

Patricia Leitch: Dream of Fair Horses
Samantha Alexander: Riders: Will to Win

The Shire Horse Society Stud Book

Alois Podhajsky: The Art of Dressage

H M Peel: Night Storm the Flat Racer

Mary Gervaise; The Secret of Pony Pass

J L Carr: The Harpole Report

Golden Gorse: The Young Horsebreakers

The Metaphysical Poets

Christine Pullein-Thompson: We Rode to the Sea

Folly 50th Anniversary edition

Colin Watson: Charity Ends at Home

Michael Morpurgo: The War Horse

Jenny Hughes: The Painted Horse

Juliana Hutchings: A Horse to Remember

Alan Clark: The Last Diaries

Katie Fforde: Practically Perfect

Hilary Bonner: A Passion so Deadly

K M Peyton: The Sound of Distant Cheering

Dervla Murphy: Where the Indus is Young

Dorita Fairlie-Bruce: Nancy to the Rescue

Jilly Cooper: Octavia

Patricia Leitch: A Pony of our Own

Elizabeth Grant... : The Highland Lady in Ireland

Jo Packer: Gymkhana Trek

T S Eliot: Collected Poems

John Wyndham: The Midwich Cuckoos

John WYndham: The Seeds of Time

Bernard Cornwell: Excalibur

Letters from a Lost Generation: First World War Letters of Vera Brittain and Four Friends

and a lamp, various lip salves and hand creams, and dust.

I don't claim that shows the width of my reading: when I put together my first CV at university my tutor commented on the authors I had put down that I read. "But don't you think it shows breadth of mind?" I asked. "No," he said. "Just that you can't make up your mind."

I am what my husband calls a cluttermeleon. My job doesn't help. When you regularly get in boxes of books, they have to go somewhere, and in my case there are an awful lot of somewheres, particularly when you have decided to have a purge of old stock and the landing is filled with boxes on their way out, fighting with the regiments on their way in.

There are times I wish I could do minimalism. I caught the end of Grand Designs when I came in from the PCC meeting. I love to look at that sort of modern, spare house, with its uncluttered purity, and I see how beautiful it is, but I could no more live in it than I could fly. I am the High Priestess of Clutter, with my faithful acolytes, my children, who have learned the lesson so well they are actually worse than me.


Jodie Robson said…
I just leant for a moment on the end of my desk this morning, while I plugged the laptop back in, and a very large pile of books all slid off and fell in heaps all over the floor. There was a corresponding pile on the table on the other side.

Some good books in that list - and think how you'd hate living in that pristine house. We watched a Grand Designs (the same one?) last week and at the end I said, "There wasn't a single book to be seen; how can they live like that?"
Sarah said…
Wouldn't mind helping you make your pile of books smaller (e.g. Niight Storm and The Young Horsebreakers)!!!
However my pile does not need adding to or I might be kicked out of the bedroom.
Unknown said…
Your bedside table must be a darn sight bigger than mine. There isn't room for a single book on mine.

If I want to keep a book within reach overnight, it goes on the chest of drawers on the other side of the bed.

I do have two, three-shelf cases of pony books next to the bed, nearer the foot.

I don't like the minimal look - it's too bleak for me. I notice that on house makeover programmes, bookcases often mysteriously vanish, or are reduced, to make the rooms look bigger and less cluttered. Are the books disposed of, or crammed into rooms that aren't being filmed ?
If anyone wanted to do a makeover in my flat, I'd insist the books stayed accessible.
Jane Badger said…
geraniumcat - yes I think it was the same Grand Designs. And there weren't books, unless they were tidied away behind clean, spare cupboard doors. I like to see my books, gaily jacketed and all. I think to live like that you must be extraordinarily disciplined and think "I have a spare 10 minutes, so I will tidy up," rather than "I have a spare 10 minutes - where's my book?"

Sarah - all mine I'm afraid, not stock! My husband has piles of books his side too: not as bad as mine, but not far off at all.

Gillian - it's not a huge bedside table. Much though I'd love a smart little Chippendale table, what I actually have is something wobbly from MFI, and I guess it's about 14" square. Just before Christmas my sister came round to do her house doctor thing on our house and was appalled....
Vanessa said…
I saw that Grand Designs too and thought the house looked like a car showroom - you could tell he spent most of his time designing office blocks! And that £1000 tap - how utterly ridiculous was that!

I have a small bedside table but large to-be-read and recently-read piles beside it. Must have a proper look at them sometime...

Mind you, Jane your house suits a degree of clutter and always has a lovely warm feel to it. Or do you tidy up before I visit???
Susan in Boston said…
Impressive! (Also reminds me that I need to shift War Horse, which lurks in my staggering tbr pile, a bit closer to the top of said pile).

Did you get my response to your email? Sent last week, but I haven't heard back from you, so I'm wondering if it didn't hit your junk mail file? Let me know if not, and I'll resend!
Jane Badger said…
Vanessa - no, I don't tidy up! Can't you tell? The lovely warm feeling is the Aga, and mine certainly isn't one of those houses that anyone feels they might have to live up to.

Susan - no, I haven't! Can you resend please?
Hah! You are as bad as me. I am terrible at putting books back. My biggest pile is on top of the loo (cos I read in the bath)
Susan in Boston said…
Jane...I resent yesterday....did you receive?
Jane Badger said…
M&M - I don't dare put books on top of the loo for fear the heap would fall in....

Susan - yes I have, and have sent you two! Have you not got them?
Nan said…
It just feels like the whole spare thing is a fad on its way out. At first it was appealing. Get rid of clutter and free yourself. Well, yes, but not to the point where there is no personality to a house anymore. Before this all the magazines featured shelves and tables covered with stuff, and now there is no stuff anywhere. Now the backlash is coming. It's so weird how these trends happen. The other day I was at a blog and the writer said that she had just read about the 'in' colors now. Which came first, our personal taste or the magazines telling what our taste should be?

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