Monday, October 25, 2010

Ex Libris

Well, I've finally married my wonderful Garm. Yup, he's stuck with me. And my wonderful Garm's wonderful parents gave us the best wedding present ever: an entire wall of bookshelves. "Entire wall" doesn't really do justice to the scope. The bookshelves literally stretch the width of the entire house. That's right. We've figured it up to about 166 linear feet of shelf space. And we've almost filled it up already .......

We began measuring months ago. There were charts and graphs and some more measuring as the piles of books in corners grew. The goal was to make the most use of the largest single wall in the house, so that we could combine both of our libraries into one place. After a while, the was a good deal of hoping along with the measuring.

Once home from our lovely honeymoon we settled in then took our happy, literate selves up to Ikea, home of all things for the home (some assembly required). We weren't sure how all of the bookshelves that we knew we needed were going to fit into the back of Garm's truck, but those clever Sweedes, they're so good at flat packing that everything fit with room to spare. Seriously, the next time I need to pack a suitcase, I'm finding a Sweedish person do help me! Here's what the truck looked like:

We got home and I had to go to work, leaving Garm to assemble 6 full sized Billy bookcases, one half bookcase, a DVD tower, and a TV stand. While I was walking dogs, he was busy in the garage, and this is the result:

It's amazing, how packages so small can be coerced into being such significant bookshelves. Each one is over 6 feet tall. Garm was so excited he even dragged the first three in and started arranging some of our books on them:

When I got home that night, I helped him carry in the others, and we began sorting the books onto them. SO MUCH FUN! I've had some of my books in storage for years and years, since I moved away from Newnan the first time, and they've stayed in storage in a closet at my parents' house while I was overseas with the Peace Corps, then they moved to the closets and under-beds at Garm's house. Finally, they're breathing air again!!

I had to go to work again the next day, but was able to help Garm get the electronics started. There wasn't too much I could help with this,
and I mostly just left him alone to untangle that, checking occasionally to make sure he didn't accidentally get strangled in the nonsense. He got it worked out, thankfully, and in time for the Auburn game, even. That evening he also secured the bookshelves to the wall and started putting the history and non-fiction out.

I came home to a lovely mess of books all over the house, and quickly set to work pulling out more boxes and fitting them in to where they belong. We have the books sorted by category -- fiction, anthologies, children's, literary criticism, general non-fiction, religion, mythology, poetry, history (by time period and then by author), biography, and political science. Poor Garm, he was exhausted but I was just so excited that I kept pulling boxes out from under beds and putting them into their respective areas. The history section was probably the most difficult, and I let Garm do all of those, though I did try to help. Getting the books into both chronological AND alphabetical order was such a chore ... I will never, ever shelve a book in that section: he can do it for me! I'll build a book drop first!

Exhausted, sometime in the middle of the night, we finally had to go to bed. The next morning, Sunday, I went back to Ikea with my BFF so she could browse the home of all things for the home (some assembly required) and I could pick up a couple more wall shelves. Garm and I decided that to give our wall o' books a truly built in feel, we would join the Bill bookcases over the TV with some matching wall shelves. We got 4 shelves on our original trip, enough to make 2 joining shelves, but we realized that our TV does not need to be mounted, like we originally thought we did. We also realized that the extra 5 feet of bookshelf was going to be crucial.

Especially since while I was at the bookstore, Garm found 2 more boxes of books under a bed I missed the night before in my excitement and exhaustion. These books, mostly history and non-fiction, required that we rethink where those sections ought to go. So, when I returned home from Ikea we mounted all 6 of the shelves and made 3 shelves above the TV, with the resulting effect of a single, custom unit. Garm claims he was 3/8" off on one of the shelves, but I defy you to find a flaw in these pictures!! Once we rearranged mythology, religion, and moved the yearbooks for the umpteenth time, the bookshelves are finally complete! Can you believe we managed to get our living room from this:

to this:

in just a few days? We've been looking forward to these ever since I announced to my new betrothed that I came with a dowery of a library as extensive as his own. One neat side effect were the duplicate books. Garm and I often had the exact same book, and we collected the doubles to turn in for credit at our local used book store. They'll only let us turn in one box at a time, so we have to make 6 trips to get them all gone. We've even been able to replace a few paperbacks for hardbacks, then turn the paperbacks in! Of course, if we keep lucking out and getting such good credit off these books, we may be needing more bookshelves sooner than we thought ....