Hanky-Panky in the Stacks

Now that our flooring’s down and the sofa is no longer sitting on its side in the kitchen (don’t ask), the bookshelf is full again—but over the two nights that it was empty, I observed a strange and disturbing phenomenon.

My books are reproducing amongst themselves. Yes—they’re having book sex, and as a result, they’re giving birth to more books.

There’s no other explanation for this. When I started to reshelf my books, there were far too many to fit in, so I ended up having to banish a couple of dozen to my garage, where everything that won’t fit on the shelves in the living room or in the master bedroom goes. (It’s no disgrace, by the way, for a book to be shelved in my garage. George Eliot is in my garage. Thomas Hardy is in my garage. Anne Tyler is in my garage. Sharon Penman is in my garage. Am I in my garage? Hell, no—I’m special.) And this was after we had given some of the books on the shelf to the public library.

Anyway, now that my books are back on their shelves, maybe they’ll behave themselves and stop carrying on like characters in a steamy historical romance. Either that, or their offspring will end up in the garage sharing space with The Law of Real Property, and I wouldn’t wish that on any book.

Reading note: I’ve started All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Patrick MacDonald, a memoir about growing up in a housing project in South Boston. Very good reading so far, though after James Frey I’m a little wary about memoirs. If MacDonald has dental work without anesthetic, I’m bailing.

6 thoughts on “Hanky-Panky in the Stacks”

  1. My books are reproducing amongst themselves. Yes—they’re having book sex, and as a result, they’re giving birth to more books.

    Oh yes. Mine to that, too.

    Someone please, invent book condoms.

  2. Susan Higginbotham

    Maybe that’s what those little book covers that some people tote their books around in are.

  3. Hmmm, I thought those were to disguise pornographic books, the way some people slip Playboy inside The Economist to read on the train.

    Have you come across Terry Pratchett’s description of L-space (library space) and the behaviour of books in a magical library?

  4. Susan Higginbotham

    Haven’t seen the Terry Pratchett.

    I’m going to have to start sneaking peeks behind those book covers, I guess. Most of the ones I see in these parts are frilly, flowery affairs that I assumed were being used to conceal historical romances or to protect Bibles, but who knows . . .

  5. I’ll post an extract or two when I get round to it. L-space is an especially brilliant concept.

    Just occurred to me to wonder whether you can identify the culprits from population genetics, e.g if romances inexplicably proliferate then it’s a fair guess the books are behaving like their protagonists (though IME most romances have a rabbit-like [or rather, dunnock-like] level of activity but a surprisingly low level of fertility). Whereas if The Law of Real Property and its fellows predominate, then lawyers must have hidden depths the rest of us can only guess at.

    I wonder what the offspring of a law textbook and a historical romance might be? Anyone care to hazard a guess?

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