5 Aug 2014

Too Many Books… No Such Thing

Zurich, B2 Boutique Hotel, Vicki Archer

Are there ever too many books? I don’t think so.

As much as I enjoy the practicality and freedom of the Kindle and the iPad, nothing beats the beauty of the book.

It truly is a case of the more the merrier.

Do we buy as many books as we once did?

My intentions are there but the convenience of digital reading means the download often wins… and it shouldn’t.

It’s also a question of time.

So much of our time is shared between online devices that turning the pages of a book gets relegated to summer holidays or the tail end of a very long day.

Do you know what I mean?

Our family are all committed readers… and I have always believed that there is never loneliness or boredom with a good book around.

Characters and plots become part of our lives and it’s sad when their tale is told. Like farewelling a best friend.

Movies and TV series rarely make me feel that way.

Last weekend on our drive to Provence, we detoured via Zurich… and stayed in a hotel that boasted 33,000 books.

The dining room, with such volume, was lined floor to ceiling with all types of books.

Worn and loved… not precious or perfect with matching bindings.

Words in all languages filled and overflowed the space… it was quite breathtaking.

The thought of all that creativity, intellect and passion in one space was quite something.

I realised then and there that we can never, ever read enough… and there is definitely no such thing as too many books.

B2 Boutique Hotel

Brandschenkestrasse 152

8002 Zürich, Switzerland
+41 44 567 67 67

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Kerrie in France

I couldn’t agree more, Vicki. When we left Australia we had to give away most of our books and I do miss some of them. I’ve found that the Phoenix book fairs here in south west France have been a wonderful way of replacing some favourites and finding new ones while supporting a wonderful charity. You never know what you will discover in a book.

Karen in Oxford

Do you remember the very first book you read by yourself, and for pleasure? I remember a book called The Birthday Plan, a simple story of a young girl and her two siblings looking for primroses in the woods for their mother’s birthday. It was given to me as a gift and I have treasured books ever since. I still have that book, which both my daughters read when they were able. The joy of reading a book on my own was exciting and that’s probably why I remember that one so fondly but I soon moved onto simplified versions of classics like Heidi and Black Beauty and I was away! The tale of Heidi still moves me, as it did my eldest daughter when I gave it to her. Over the years I have read many, many books, fiction and non-fiction, and we are a family who buy a LOT of books, new and used.
Some books have resonated in my life for reasons I will always associate with those stories, like Love in the Time of Cholera, To Kill a Mockingbird or The Secret Life of Bees…..really there are just too many favourite books I could talk about. It’s a wonderful subject.
Quite right, you can never have too many books.


Heidi and the sequels were some of my all time childhood loves… in fact as we drove through Switzerland all I kept saying was that I felt like I was in “Heidi territory”… I remember all my childhood favourites… oh to have the time to re-read them… :)


Fabulous! Love books and libraries! Husband and I are both obsessed with books. Our house is full of them – they’re in every room. I learned to read by the age of three and have never stopped. My husband created a project for himself of reading a work by every Nobel Prize Winner for Literature. He’s already done that, sometimes it was hard to find foreign writers in English when books were out of print, but we used to search them down on travels (Paris, London and New York bookshops used to be good for that – and of course ultimately there was the Internet). Now he continues to buy more books by the Nobel authors he enjoys the most and keeps up with the new prize winners as they’re announced each year.
As a small child I loved the Heidi books too, also the Anne books, really any by LM Montgomery. Also books by Louisa May Alcott and Susan Coolidge. As I got older in my early-mid teens I began reading Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Ibsen etc and then went on to study English Literature at university. Inevitable really.
I keep giving books away – to friends and Op Shops, but then I come home with more! They’re crowding us out but we love them so. Cheers, Pamela


I know exactly what you mean, Pamela… Last year I re-read many of my favourite classics… this year I am lagging behind… :)


Never too many books in my home Vicki, and I pull down treasures tomes all of the time!

The Arts by Karena

Anita Rivera

I will never forget my college theatre prof’s home. She had books in every room, and her two story home with a loft that vaulted up to the very top was as we see in this photo you share. I was amazed. Since then, I have welcomed the décor of books into each room of my home. I don’t do Kindle or ipad for reading. I have to turn the paper, and I even mark my books..shhhhhhhh

Have a marvelous day Vicki! Anita


I am a Kindle girl… never thought I would admit to that… but with my life it kind of works… :)
I still prefer the real thing… to have and to hold and all that…


I always said that to my husband. He would want to give away/donate books after they were read, I wanted to keep them and read them again someday or share them with someone.
While we were living in Argentina, we had Kindles sent to us .. they were life savers ! Now I still read my Kindle but I also still have all my books . They are very well traveled books !


Vicki, as always, you are able to articulate how I feel. I have loved books my whole life. I am so sad to see bookstores dying out because of Kindles and Nooks, but I am guilty of depending on my Kindle too much due to time and convenience. I am going to make
an effort to go back to the “real thing”. There is just no substitute for the feel, smell and joy of a new book…and the memories from an old one. We are building a new home, and one of my biggest requests was plenty of bookcases. I can finally put my “stacks” up:)


May technology NEVER completely replace books. I want to hold them in my hands and sit in the bookstore in my neighborhood, drink coffee, and read. I have books all over my house and classroom. The fact that it is harder for bookstores to survive just breaks my heart. May they never disappear!

Pat McClane

I couldn’t agree with you more. Unfortunately, I learned to enjoy reading late in life, but I believe there is a strong link between intelligence and reading (including being read to as a child). Not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg. I’m still caught in a time warp and buy actual books but mostly because I’m afraid that all bookstores will close and then where will I go to browse?


I love books and can’t wait to show this post especially the photos to my dad and my kids. My dad who is 84 and never got to go to school but taught himself to read English and would improve his English by reading the SMH every night after dinner and to my 12 year DD and 10 year old DS who love reading and who ask to buy books every chance they get. Thanks for this post. Den xx


A few years ago I tracked down an early childhood favorite on ebay. I was shocked to see that around the time I was looking for it, it was going for $30 USD and sometimes higher.

I did finally get my hands on it again and enjoyed it all over again even many, many years after I first read it as a child. They are like magic carpet rides to all kinds of places . . . even to our own pasts. :)


I have to have books around me Vicki, books are a treasure and must be cherished… I know that is the subject but I just wanted to say
We have done that drive! From Cheshire to the cote d’azur via Milan ( to collect the family)
I was completely entranced, first driving through the countryside of Champagne as the sun was rising…then across into Switzerland,by the edges of lake Lucerne.. it was totally breathtaking.
Just once, to do something like that… Heidi country it most certainly is.
Flying this year :))

The Enchanted Home

I so agree, never ever too many books. I have them everywhere, on every possible subject you can imagine. My husband who is not the reader that I am cannot get over how i escape into my books…but I love how they take me into other worlds….nothing quite like it!

And no device will ever come close to the delight of turning a crisp page or the smell of a new book, are you kidding..that is the BEST!! And I wouldn’t’ trade it for anything. No Kindles, or reading devices for me thank you, I am a regular at my local bookstore with pleasure.

Kim. ⛵️

Oh dear !! I’ve worked in 2 wonderful bookstores and both have now closed down – a tragedy. My delight at walking around the shelves at work- sometimes dreamlike realising where I was and how fortunate I was…. Taking customers to the book they want and seeing their face when you place the book in their hands – a delight. So now I visit the library, a vast reader too many to buy.


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