Homes in Vancouver are small. We don’t have endless space for bookshelves. And my husband doesn’t share my view that books make nice decorations on the kitchen counter, or that stacks of hardcovers can serve as perfectly good side tables.
The kids have shelves in their rooms, where books are stacked in double rows. I have a shelf in the family room similarly crammed, as well as a couple desk drawers, two bedside table drawers, and one stack beside my bedside table (which usually escapes spousal attention unless it teeters too high).
Still not enough. It never feels like enough, and I’m always having to give away books that I love.
Then, last night, a friend called with a book issue. Her son was sick. He’d been sleeping all afternoon but at 8:30 pm, was wide awake and looking for something to read. Unfortunately, he was right in the middle of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and they’d forgotten their copy in Whistler on the weekend. Could I help?
I was so pleased to turn on my flashlight, sneak past my sleeping son, and withdraw the hardcover from the back row of his top shelf.
Even in a space-aware state, I’m still the person to call in a literary emergency.