Hoarding Can Be Good

GMH_2498Okay, I admit it, I am pretty bad for hoarding.

Look at my bookshelves. I am not going to read every one of these again. In fact, I suspect only perhaps 15% of them will be read. I have books I adore (and know pretty much off by heart), and which I cannot get rid of because they are my comfort-reads; there are some which are so bad, so unremittingly dire, that I keep them to remind myself I cannot sink that low; and then there is the middle ground, the Lehanes, Grishams, Deavers and others, which I know I won’t read again, but which, well, they hold a place in my affections, I guess.

GMH_2499Then again, there are the research shelves. These are packed with books I don’t and probably won’t need. But they have to be kept hold of, because once in a while I might need to check on what poisons were in use in the 1500s, or what alchemists were up to in the 1200s, or … there are many aspects of research when writing an historical.

But do I need that snooker table? No. It really should be sold. As should the hanging file trolley. We don’t need that. And the old toys … ah yes, I knew there was a point to this rambling.

You see, I am really enjoying making YouTube videos about books and writing. I know, it seems a silly occupation, but there is a ready audience for short films talking about pens and inks. And I’ve done well with my book reviews, too. People seem to like them.

But, I only have one camera. It is good – it’s a Nikon – but it is not designed for making videos, it’s designed for making photos, and it is exceedingly good at it. But it fails for me on both counts.

Although it is a very competent video-maker, it falls down because it cannot auto-focus while filming. Taking a photo it’s fine, but filming is not. I have to set it up on manual focus and ensure I am sitting within that precise range. It’s not ideal.

For outdoor photography it’s not idea, either, purely because it’s so damn big. It is impossible to take subtle, candid photos with it, because people see this hulking great black box and realise what I’m doing. Besides, I dislike looking like a tourist.

So I have been looking for some time at different options. Sadly they all appear to be in the region of £1,500 and upwards for anything that would do decent video and photography. Which is way out of my league. Even the second hand Fuji X100F, which I mention because it is beautiful, costs over £800. That would be, I think, an ideal every-day carry camera. Light, discreet, and takes wonderful photos. I could keep the Nikon at home for recording films, and take the Fuji out every day. That appeals.

But not at that cost.

However, I have a lot of items here that are not books which I could easily sell. Old toys, old fountain pens, and the Good Lord knows what else besides. I even have a load of crates full of my own books that I could sell.

Maybe, just maybe, I should be concentrating on clearing out the old clutter.

But that will come later. First, today, I have to siphon off some home brew which has been sitting and resting after I mixed in the finings yesterday; walk the dogs; write this blog (okay, done); do emails; do twitter; get the sourdough starter to wake up after a week in the fridge; write up some notes on a review; edit two videos; drive to Exeter to have new hearing aid equipment synched with my existing aids; pick up daughter from the station; get to the college, where we’re participating in a quiz night in support of the A level students …

When I first started writing, I thought it would be a way of having an easier life, and less to do. I was wrong.


15 Responses to “Hoarding Can Be Good”
  1. “there are some which are so bad, so unremittingly dire, that I keep them to remind myself I cannot sink that low” — YIKES… <<>>


  2. Jack Eason says:

    Nowt wrong with collecting books good or bad Michael. :)


  3. You think your house is bad, Michael. I have 10′ bookshelves on all walls in the living-room, books in the study to the ceiling, the spare bedroom a store room, under the bed. However, I run a readers’ group and usually get paperbacks for that, and pass them on, but books of history, reference, my books on music and bassoon playing are going nowhere. If I hadn’t kept my copies of your novels, I doubt if I’d be able to reread them and benefit so much from the stories and the author’s note. I’m loving reading the novel and checking out your references. By the way, I loved the Terry Jones book on Chaucer’s Knight that younhave recommended several times. So hoarding is great.


  4. Maria Kinnersley says:

    Lovely to read the musings of a fellow hoarder. When we moved to Devon three years ago, I was forbidden to have bookshelves unless they had glass doors. (I think he was concerned that they would breed!). Always nice to read your blog.


    • Many thanks, Maria! And your husband is a sensible fellow, so long as he allows you to retain all your copies of my books, of course! Thanks for the comment, and I hope your bookshelves start breeding soon, so that they’ll need to be filled up with books!


  5. flawedman says:

    In the internet age do you really require written information after all Wiki is about the world’s best reference book, and there are more free books on Gutenberg than anyone could read in a lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, there is a lot of information on the internet – but a lot of it is biased, inaccurate and flawed. For example, Wiki is unusable for serious research. Many people put information up, but you have no way of telling whether it was a Harvard professor or a spotty youth from Doncaster. My good friend Ian Mortimer was a keen user of Wikipedia, for example, until blatantly incorrect information about him was put on Wiki. Yes, he did go to it and edit it – only to have the information return. He edited it again, and still the false facts were put back. When he complained to a moderator, he was informed that primary sources were not permitted. It was considered better to have lies installed.
      If you buy a published book from a reputable publisher, you buy something written by a professional author who hopefully knows his/her subject. It will have been checked by an agent, then a publisher, then one, sometimes two copyeditors, then by fact-checkers, until being read by a proofreader. And if it’s a serious book, it’ll have been read by the author’s peers as well. If you see something for free on the web, it was probably written, edited and checked by the author.
      So no, in the internet age there is no need for reference books. Unless you want to know you are getting accurate information.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. flawedman says:

    As a layman with no higher education I have to do my best to get a cross section of the experts. So take climate change ; it would be silly to take one of two opinions we need a consensus of scientists opinions.
    An interesting and controversial case is Steven Pinkers case for the idea we are living in a golden age in his book ‘ The Better Angels of our Nature . We must also remember we have live videos on utube about just about everything surely it’s up to us to discern as best we can.


  7. flawedman says:

    By the way I checked out Dr Ian Mortimer and read his excellent essay ‘Why I do not Fly ‘ he certainly goes to town on this one even suggesting the world could do well to have no aircraft at all. That is certainly true as far as the environment is concerned but care needs to be taken on stopping progress after all I could say we would have been much better off without the internal combustion engine or the industrial revolution.


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