“You Have Too Many Books”: Four Responses

First of all, let’s be clear: there is no such thing as “too many books.” There just isn’t.

Sometimes, though, we readers may need to find creative ways to store our books to convince the skeptics in our lives that we don’t have too many. Which is why I’ve come up with the following tips to help you disguise your TBR pile. (Hopefully lots of the books in it are from Bethany House…check out this post to see what books released this month!)

One: Hide books in your furniture.

Technique: No more do books have to be confined to simple shelves. Here are some examples of books in home furnishing.


Say This: “The books are a key part of the design of our home. They’re functional!”

Two: Create a sculpture.

Technique: Arrange your pile of books in an artful way. Try a spiral around a lamp for some flair. Then fold a notecard in half and write a vague, profound-sounding name for your sculpture. (“Words in Transition” or “A Symphony of Page Numbers,” for example.)

Say This: “Think about it—in a stack of books, you have dozens of perspectives on the world: joy and fear and heartbreak and beauty and the full range of human emotion. If that’s not art, I don’t know what is.”

Three: Bring history to life.

Technique: Arrange your historical fiction books in a timeline on your shelf from earliest to latest. For extra credit, write out the year and major events of the time on bits of paper that you tape to the shelf. If you have a large gap for a certain time period, well . . . you’ll just have to buy a few more books to fill it in! (Here’s a great resource if you need help finding novels from a particular era.)

Say This: “See? It’s educational! Think about all our children will learn while looking at this display.”

Four: Travel the world.

Technique: Hang a sign that says “Between the Pages Travel Agency” over your bookshelf. (Novel Crossing did a great series on author-recommended “book-cations.”)


Say This: “Plane tickets to places all around the world can be really pricey. And time travel will be off-the-charts expensive if it’s ever invented. Compared to that, this is a cheap alternative!”

What would you say to someone who wonders if you have too many books?

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