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Solve the book storage problem with many more shelves

Shelf Life: Rachael Mason

If I could move into my dream home, it wouldn't be a house at all. Instead, I'd like to live in a vacant library.

Ideally, it would be an older building that was still in good repair. More importantly, all of the shelves would still be standing. And they would have to be empty. I have no doubt that I could quickly fill these shelves with my own books.

I haven't noticed any former libraries for sale lately, so I guess I'll have to concentrate on adding shelves to my own house. I really love built-in bookcases, but adding those to a room isn't really in the budget. The kind of shelves that I can afford will most likely feature long pieces of plywood held up by cinder blocks.

Well, OK, I can probably afford at least one set of shelves from a place like Ikea or Target. But the last time I tried to put together a bookcase that required "some assembly," it was a much more complex process than I had imagined. It's a wonder that thing is still standing. In fact, the weight of the books on it are probably the only thing holding it up.

What I really need is a nice, new how-to manual about putting together prefab bookcases. Or maybe a beautiful illustrated guide to building my own shelves. I'm completely willing to overlook the fact that the only thing I've ever built was a birdhouse that wasn't suitable for even the least picky of our fine feathered friends.

But if I could build my own shelves, I'm sure that the many piles of books located throughout my house would soon be neatly arranged. I might even alphabetize each book and sort my collection according to genre.

Realistically, I am aware that more shelves is not necessarily the only solution to my book storage problems. Some people have even suggested that I get rid of some books. That sounds like an easy answer.

For me, it's really hard to let go of all the stories I haven't read yet, though. On the other hand, it does seem somewhat ridiculous to hold on to stacks and stacks of unread books. But I'm absolutely sure that I will read them someday. In the meantime, I just need a place to put them.

Clearly, I should be paying more attention to real estate ads and posts on Web sites such as craigslist.org. I'm sure that vacant library, complete with endless, empty shelves, will hit the market soon. And in the right situation, I'll be able to barter for it with books.

If there's a book you think I really ought to read, please e-mail rachael.mason@gwinnettdailypost.com.