The torture of living far away from your books


A little over a year and a half ago, I moved out of my mother’s house, who lives in the south of France, and moved to Paris, where I now live in a teeny-tiny apartment.

I may have a lot of mixed feelings concerning this apartment, but it’s my first one, and no matter how much I hate it sometimes, it’s still a bit special in my heart – like a captor is special in the heart of the person they abducted, as that person starts to sympathise with them. Erm, anyway …

That being said, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s tiny and, in an effort not to crowd my apartment too much, I decided not to buy a huge bookshelf, and left almost all my books back at my mom’s place. Miles and miles away from me.

I love my books, that’s no secret, and I probably shouldn’t feel so emotionally attached to objects, but it’s only because I am emotionally attached to these stories, whether I loved them or hated them, I feel something when I think about The Casual Vacancy, The Great Gatsby, The Hunger Games, and all the others.

My shelf and I

There’s also something so satisfying when you look at your bookshelf and see it filled with your books, the books you bought and read and dedicated time to.

You just look at that bookshelf, and you feel at peace, like “Yeah, this is mine. I’ve done this.” You’re creating your own little library, and it feels good to see the result of all this time and effort.

And now, I can’t feel this anymore.

I still have a few books with me, of course.

I’m keeping Les Misérables close to me wherever I go, it’s actually kind of ridiculous. I always bring it with me when I go back home, and it’s in my suitcase when I return to Paris. It’s really huge so it’s not always practical, but once I’ve made up my mind, I don’t really care about reason.

I’m keeping The Song Of Achilles, because of reasons, and I absolutely don’t want to part with The Raven Cycle books, mainly because I’m prone to rereading them, but also because, at some point, the fourth book is going to be available and I want to have the entire series in one place.

And, obviously, I’m keeping my “To-Read” books within arm’s reach, because what would be the point ? But even those are not permanent fixtures in my apartment. Whenever I return home, I put them in my suitcase so I can add them to my ever-growing collection in my childhood bedroom.

When you’re waiting for your doom

I know, logically, deep down inside me, that I don’t need to have all my books constantly with me, but it doesn’t change the fact that it bothers me not to see them because “WHAT IF ?”

What if I have the unrepressing urge to reread Prisoner of Azkaban ?

What if there’s something nagging at the back of my mind and I want to check something in The Hobbit ?

What if George R.R. Martin hurries up and published The Winds Of Winter, and I find myself not remembering something apparently very important and totally relevant, but I don’t have any of the books with me to go back and understand this thing better ?

Of course, the easy solution would be to Google the shit out of it, but that’s hardly the point here !

The point is, though I know it’s unnecessary, I can’t help but feel better when I have all my things in one place.

I’m a bit of a hoarding squirrell that way.

In any case, it’s a struggle, and I long for the day I’ll move into a proper apartment with a bit more space, so that I can take all my books with me. And me and my books will, at last, be reunited, and will live happily ever after.


Tell me your thoughts on having all your books in one place in the comments below. Any book you can’t bear to be separated from ?

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