Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My favourite shelves...

My computer has been out of action for some days but it is now fixed, thank goodness.  Given I couldn't do any blog entries I took to tidying up my study as it had turned into a complete tip since Christmas.  There is still some way to go but I can at least now have unobstructed views of my shelves which allows me to post an entry inspired by one I saw on someone else's blog a little while ago.  This was of his favourite bookshelves which struck me as a very good idea so I thought I'd have a go.

I've always been a great collector of stuff.  My wife for example, has no books, CDs or DVDs.  She doesn't spend money on things (except lights and wacky ornaments for the house).  Some people I know spend a lot of money on foreign holidays, for example.  As I spend a lot of time abroad  I am completely uninterested in foreign holidays.  Bad luck on the family, they can go to our house on the Isle of White again!  No, I like buying stuff: primarily books, music and DVDs.  The problem is that all of this stuff needs to be stored.  I admit to buying most of my music on iTunes now even though my friend Bill says the sound reproduction is lousy.  But, then, I listen to my music on an iPod or through my computer speakers (today it's Jerry Goldsmith's score for The 13th Warrior) not a £25,000 stereo like Bill so I can't hear the difference.  Incidentally, isn't it strange how audiophiles bang on about the quality of a recording of a particular piece of music with no regard for the quality of the music itself.  This certainly explains a lot about Bill's "music" collection.  My friend from Bath, whose stereo cost even more than Bill's, uses records on a turntable because of the better sound.  All very well the first few plays, when they are new and fresh but over the years they inevitably deteriorate (bit like women, really) and the listening experience is ruined by random clicks and pops.  I recently bought a CD version of a record I had owned for many years and was actually annoyed by the lack of a certain click I remember from one of the movements on my LP version.

Anyway, here are my favourite shelves which are the ones in my study.  You can tell a lot about someone from their books, music and film collection.  My sister, for example, has lots of books about the KGB...

These are the shelves facing my desk as I sit in my "playroom" as the family call it.  

Top row left: Unread paperbacks (there are many more behind the visible books) 
Top row centre: Girly books 
Top row right: Darkest Africa books

Second row left:  a German WW1 pickelhaube, my unfinished model paddle boat, some model palm trees, a German incendiary bomb tail, an unfinished 1/48 Lockheed Lightning, a model Buick, a nearly completed Great War Miniatures WW1 British tank, a part completed 1/24th Airfix Hurricane engine, a mortar tail and a reproduction Zulu Wars helmet which I bought for a fancy dress evening at Guy's school.  There are no books on this shelf because the fastenings are weak and too much weight would cause it to fall off the wall, as it nearly did a few years ago.

Second row centre:  Small art books and film books; especially on Hammer Films.
Second row right: Zulu War books

Third  row left and centre:  Crimean War, World War 1, Back of Beyond and World War 2 period books.
Third row right:  Some books on James Bond and a few oddments which I have moved from my other shelves to make more room: Helen of Troy, Gerry Anderson and Titanic all feature.

Fourth row left: File boxes with unpainted figures (three more are invisible to the right) More unpainted and part painted figures on the shelf.
Fourth row centre: Unread hardbacks (with another layer behind)
Fourth row right: Books on (mainly) space exploration and Egyptian art.

Bottom row left: boxes of plastic figures, and a couple of volumes of Miniature Wargames.
Bottom row centre: My main lead pile in plastic drawers - about forty figures to a drawer.  I recently found two more of these little units in the loft so am now decanting the last 12 months worth of purchases into them.   Up until now thay have been sitting in cardboard boxes in front of my shelves. Grand Manner Argo in front.
Bottom row right: Wargames Illustrated (the ones I don't have on CD)

The filing cabinets below contain at least three drawers worth of wargames and modelling magazines.  One drawer contains my spare paint mine, all my aerosol cans and things like static grass and pva glue.  Another holds all my shield and flag transfers, more wargames rules and other mainly wargaming stuff.  At the bottom left is my 1906 Lincoln-Jeffries air rifle which I have just had serviced and can still punch a hole through  a garden fence.  It's a good job we only have fields at the back!  Guy is in the school shooting team and often pops away at his targets with this although his normal shooting distance at Bisley is 800 yards!  Also bottom left is a 1916 British 18 pounder shell case which I use to keep my umbrella in if it is wet.

These are the shelves to the right of my chair where I keep most of my military books.

Top shelf: Various oversize books on African exploration, The Trigan Empire, James Bond films, Hammer films and more girly books.

Left hand book shelf:

Top row:  DVDs (they have to have been watched to go here)
Second row:  Lord of the Rings, James Bond and oversize military books.
Third row: More large military books and transport
Fourth row: More DVDs
Fifth row: Mostly fantasy and SF graphic art books.
Bottom row:  Mostly ships and Ancient Egypt

Right hand book shelf:

Top Row: Trojans to Carthaginian Wars
Second row: Rome to Dark ages
Third row: Crusades to War of 1812
Fourth row: Napoleonic
Fifth row: Indian Mutiny to the Sudan.
Bottom row: Wargames rules

Big art books and Playboy books

I have another bookshelf which just contains art books and three more book shelves full of DVDs.  Basically, I have run out of room and need to get rid of stuff.  The DVDs take up a lot of space and I am contemplating buying some of those big albums designed to store just the discs and their covers so you can lose all the plastic boxes.  A friend of mine has done this and freed up a huge amount of space.

I have had to put a lot of books up into the loft: all my read paperbacks, books on things I look at less often, such as cars of the thirties, wine regions, Start Trek, Star Wars and Renaissance art.  The loft is now full as well so I need to do something drastic which means getting rid of some books.  Horrors!  However, am I really going to read Edgar Rice Burroughs Martian books again?  Or any of those techno thrillers I bought in the eighties and nineties?  I must have over 250 novels I haven't read yet and new ones come out all the time.  Not so very long ago period military novels were few and far between; Napoleonic naval, Sharpe, Kilworth's Crimean series and then you started to run out.  Now there are dozens of series covering all sorts of periods.  I can't keep up!


  1. You've amased quite a collection of interesting reads. I like the picklehaube and pith helmet a lot! Also, that trireme/Argo looks like it needs to see some action - a Golden Fleece game for sure. Dean

  2. I'm slowly and surely painting some Argonauts!

  3. An impressive collection! Worthy of any wargamer. Many there I recognize and/or own myself.
    A little surprised at the repository of girlie things. I am amazed the Mrs Legatus allows you to hold on to such material, mine would have binned them years ago!
    Love the pith helm and Picklehaub!

  4. Mrs Legatus actually bought me many of the girly books!

  5. Mrs Legatus sounds a bit like my Duchess of Grandchamp, very tolerant. But if you have a spare wall what your girlie collection lacks is a racy Hussarette oil painting. You know where to find a willing artist.

  6. I have, indeed, admired your paintings! I had a place at art school myself but went to university instead and love real pictures on the wall but, sadly, such is the design of our house that we have no free wall space. I have a lovely Angus McBride painting of Boadicea I want to hang but nowhere to put it. The study featured in this post has two walls entirely covered with book shelves and two walls which are windows. Frustrating!

  7. Ah, well, your life is not so organised as it sounds then. Time to sell some books on Ebay methinks :-)

  8. Legatus,
    With the exception of the girly books (which my wife would probably tolerate) our tastes are disturbingly similar - I have many of the same novels and reference books. I also have large numbers of books in the loft and have a lot of unread books too (I sometimes find a "must have bargain" and then realise later I already own it, unread).


  9. Yes, I do the same with wargames magazines buy them and then get home and find I already have that issue!