I get separation anxiety. And no, I am not talking about the anxiety felt knowing that my family, including one very cute nephew who is much missed when he’s not throwing himself onto my bed as my very own unsilenceable alarm clock, is on the other side of this blessedly small country. I am not talking about having to call Lancaster my home for the majority of the year despite the fact I am very much born and bred in the North East – and yes, the accent gives that away more often than not. I am talking about bookish separation anxiety. I think, if you are a book lover, you know what I mean.
It’s that feeling of knowing that, even though you have some of (quite a few actually) your books with you, this is not even the tip of the iceberg. Knowing that you can’t just casually reach for Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton should you be struck suddenly with the inexplicable whim to re-read a good old-fashioned industrial novel. Knowing that you can’t finally get around to reading Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, a book you insist you’ve been meaning to ‘get around to soon’ since you picked it up for cheap at a used book shop.
But, ultimately, the anxiety is silliness of the highest order because you know in your heart of hearts that you probably weren’t immediately intending to get around to that 500 page novel that had laid, gathering dust, on your bookshelf at home for a good five years at this point. But even so, it’s nice to have the option to casually reach for George Eliot’s Middlemarch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Instead all you have is this measly bunch of novels you had the heart (read: the room) to bring with you to university, so they can sit proudly on a different bookshelf and collect dust over the course of the year. Still, it must be nice for them to get out and see new places after years of being squeezed into the same old groaning bookshelves back at home. And for the ones who get left behind? Well, you just have to hope that the aforementioned very cute nephew left behind has not managed to disrupt your books’ peace on his curious wanderings into your abandoned bedroom.
Stay strong, my beloved books, we’ll be reunited soon.