the Senior Cat told me rather quietly. He was looking a little startled.
I followed him down to his bedroom and had a look. Hmm. The collapse was not total but it was rather dramatic.
Yes, I know it is not usual for most people to sleep in what amounts to a small library but both of us do. We have nowhere else to put all the books we own. We both have bookcases in our bedrooms. He has two free standing bookcases and one which runs the length of the room behind his bed.
It was a free standing one which had lost three shelves. They had simply collapsed under the weight of large, double stacked and triple stacked reference books. There are two more shelves and the one at the top also needs attention. The bottom shelf is fine. It is keeping the rest of it in place.
I spent the next twenty minutes picking books up from the floor and stacking them out of the way.
"Do you really need all of these?" I asked. I held up two large books about herb gardens and a smaller one.
I waited for the, "I can't get rid of those!"
There was silence and then the Senior Cat gave a large sigh, "No, I suppose I could get rid of one."
I looked at him. I continued to stack books.
Last year I made an effort. I removed almost all the cookbooks belonging to my mother. I kept a few basics and several genuinely interesting ones, such as the "flatbread" book which is full of history as well as recipes. I also removed a lot of knitting patterns, cross stitch, and quilting books. These were not things I used. My mother did - sort of. She read them. I read technical books on knitting and I read things that might be useful for knitting but I don't use other people's patterns...so those things went. I kept some of my own - review copies and books by people who use techniques within patterns in ways I find interesting or think might be potentially useful.
I also removed a lot of other detritus - although not nearly enough.
This year I plan to move some more. It just requires time and a certain amount of courage.
But the Senior Cat looked unhappily at the piles of books and at the collapsed shelving. He looked even more unhappily at the shelving next to those.
"I suppose I should get rid of some of these things but I don't know who else will want them. Everyone else looks things up on the internet these days."
Even he does that. I hugged him and went off to make him a cup of tea.