Thursday, 14 February 2013

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre - no gangsters were shot during the drafting of this post....

You know how it is. You sit down and decide that certain items from your collection are no longer required, or that the space you fill with your 'stuff' could use a little reorganisation, even that you want to 'rationalise' your interests and then before you know it, you have a full scale overhaul on your hands.

So it was with me.

The idea started out as a modest change around in the man cave - simply moving the shallow units to the long sides of the room so that the deeper units could all be along one end. I should point out that my loft is longer than it is wide and so having deeper units along one of the short end walls takes up less usable floor space than having them sticking out along the long sides.

So far, so good, you could be forgiven for thinking.

The plan entailed using the narrower storage units (narrower as in 30cm deep shelving as opposed to the 50cm deeper shelves) as bookcases which in turn meant that I needed to get some additional bits and pieces from Ikea. Again, no problem. Whilst planning all this moving and shaking I was mentally redeploying my book collection and that is where the massacre part of my tale comes into its own.

I realised that I have a lot of books. Not as many as some I don't doubt but a pretty reasonable collection all the same. Therein lay the problem. I found myself looking at books that I had acquired and in many cases never read - all with the best of intentions of wargaming whatever period the title in question covered.

In a nutshell, this was frankly ridiculous!

I suddenly realised that what on earth was the point of me buying books for periods of history that I would never get around to gaming? I have enough trouble managing the periods that I am likely to be gaming let alone those that 'seemed like a good idea at the time'! Something had to give and so with the ruthlessness that I usually make my best (and worst) decisions I am having a HUGE clear out.

Gone will be the Armada period, the 17th and 18th centuries (ECW, French and Indian and AWI), Napoleonic Peninsula, Pirates (lots of pirate titles!), ACW on land - I shall be keeping the river based titles - and some colonial titles, some WW1 and WW2. Much of this has been acquired via boot sales or from remaindered bookshops so the original cash outlay was fairly modest - certainly nowhere near the cover prices for sure.

I have done this in the past but not on the scale I am about to undertake.

The benefits will be many and can best be summed as follows:

  • The book cases will be far more organised
  • I can focus my efforts on fewer periods - which will mean I will have a fighting chance of seeing them through to completion!
  • The funds realised from the disposal can be reinvested into the areas that need them rather than being spread shotgun style across the whole of recorded history
  • I will gain a warm and fuzzy feeling of inner peace and calm....(until the next time of course....).
The plan is to build up a war chest for use at Tonbridge on the 24th so the sacrifice of the many will fulfil the needs of the few - actually of the one but you know what I mean!


Peter Douglas said...


In the list of wargamer's famous last words, the phrase "I'm never going to game that period again" is pretty close to the top.

And yes going through a bookcase is a dangerous thing to to...
Good luck


David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

The trick is to try not to look at the books as you are taking them off the shelves in case your resolve weakens!

Needs must when the devil drives or something like that!

All the best,


Ross Mac said...

Oddly a similar thought has been in my mind alas i am no where near a decent used book store.

David Crook said...

Hi Ross,

This has been bubbling under for a while so whilst I am currently unemployed it seemed like a good idea to tackle it sooner rather than later.

Tweaking the man cave storage was another deal clincher as the resultant book cases will be much more organised and focused.

Charing Cross Road in London's West End has a goodly number of secondhand book shops (not as many as years ago though) so if you are ever over in the UK I will be happy to show you them - make sure you have a fat wallet though!

All the best,