Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Books and Grand Pianos

We have a grand piano. It is over 150 years old Broadwood and both Beethoven and Chopin. It’s a delightful piece of furniture and it’s not bad as a musical instrument. You can’t tune it to concert pitch any more. If you did the repairs it needs it would devalue it as an antique. We’re moving soon, so there’s very little point in doing anything until we arrive at the other end. It does have a good tone. Of course, modern CDs and or MP3s or Ipods can produce fantastic music. Yet, the whole of our move goes around finding a space big enough for our grand piano. We wouldn’t be without it.

Nor would we be without many of our books. It causes us pain to throw any of them away. But we do have to. Although we’re moving form one four bedroomed-house to another, the new one is only two thirds the size of the one we’re leaving behind. So, a lot has to go.

There is some comfort in putting them in the Oxfam box or taking them to the local charity shop. In fact, as I unloaded a set of penguin reference books from my car this morning, someone pounced on them and bought them before they were even unpacked. Good.

I’m actually, perhaps a little unusually for a writer, welcoming the e-book revolution. I look forward to the day when there is no limit to the number of books I can consume and have access to, without having to use them as extra insulation for my home. Just think how easy it would be to pack for a holiday. And you’d never have to give away another book again. You could probably keep them all on a memory stick.

And yet. The books are like the grand piano really. Not all that much sense in owning them any more, but great all the same. So, perhaps my lottery-winner’s dream would be to have a house big enough to include a library that could expand forever.

1 comment:

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Oh Gill, you have no idea how much I relate to this post - and apart from probably moving to a smaller house it will be to another country too. And I here I sit with my piano and surrounded by books (at least my piano isn't a baby grand!). I empathise entirely!