So We Bought the Books a House

Kate Flora: Twenty-two years ago, after a very long search, we bought a little cottage by the sea. Partly it was because my husband, who worked too hard, said a place by the sea was the only thing he really wanted. Partly–and not entirely a joke–we bought it because we had too many books and no place left to put them. So, here we are, years later, with a cottage full of books.

When we first bought the cottage, though our house was overflowing with books, we didn’t have enough. I solved the problem, in those early years, by going to the Orrs Island Library Book Sale, a fabulous event from which I always returned with several grocery bags full of books. The idea, whether with the books from our shelves at home, or books we acquired to add to the collection, was that there should be a wide range of books. This way, if there was a rainy weekend, everyone, whatever their taste, would have something to read.

To these books were added the books I got at mystery conferences, books by my friends, many of whom are writers, the research books I use for my writing, including some great forensics books from the library sale, and books my husband has used for his WIP on the Supreme Court during the New Deal. This is definitely a good place to be marooned. If you cannot find something to read here, you are simply to picky for words.

Of course, this is a summer house, so there is a stack of cookbooks, including Dishing Up Maine from Karen Baldacci, and the Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbooka gift from Governor Mills.



In the upstairs sitting room, there are few shelves of antique books from my mother’s house in Union.

In the upstairs hall, three tall shelves of books hold a miscellany of mostly paperbacks, including a row that runs right above the closet door.

Every bedroom has a bookshelf. White for the blue room, an antique pyrography shelf with an art nouveau design in the green room, and a red bookshelf in the red room. (My husband says he thinks it is silly that these rooms have names. Maybe I should call them Billy, Joe, and Stevie?)



For years, I have spent too much of my summer time writing at my desk in the office at the top of the house. This year, I plan to slow down a bit, and pluck some of the books I’ve collected off the shelves, sprawl out on the old iron loveseat on the deck, and read. It’s just hard to figure out where to begin. And it is likely I’ll get distracted by the gardening books, and then drift out into the yard to tend the plants.

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6 Responses to So We Bought the Books a House

  1. John Clark says:

    Interesting coincidence. I took advantage of the cool basement yesterday and cleaned up a book case as well as filling three others so MY hoard looked neater. It has to be genetic.

  2. Loved this essay! A seaside cottage filled with books, a writing room, a daybed on a screen porch, and a garden? It’s like…something out of a book.

  3. Monica says:

    My new-to-me house has a library! It’s an old house that’s been pieced together over time. I’ve seen other houses like this with a random room off which the bedrooms debouch. Someone turned that empty space into a library with a window seat. We’ve added a desk and rattan bench. The way life should be, indeed.

  4. Alice says:

    Years ago when I vacationed in Maine, a stop at Lobster Lane books in South Thomaston was a must with every visitor that we got. Now as year-round Mainers I continue to enjoy the shelves full of Maine authors that I accumulated those years. Such joy to re-read..

  5. susanvaughan says:

    I love, love, love the whole idea of this. What a wonderful story.

  6. jselbo says:

    Books Books and more books. Hard to part with any of them. Yes – the reading sounds great!

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