My study at the University of New England had an entire wall of bookshelves behind me, and a large bookshelf on the other wall facing me.
I occupied that same room for thirty-one years. Several times I was offered more spacious accommodation but I declined, because I quailed at the thought of transferring decades of books, journals and other archives anywhere else.
Besides, that was my room, and everyone, including decades' worth of past external students who came to call on me when in town knew where I was.
The problem came when I retired. This is not a big house. I already had a library here of English literature, classics and European history; two bookcases, one very large and of necessity, two layers deep. Tracey had her history, religion studies and law books in another large bookcase.
What was going to happen to my professional library when I left the university? I made a decision. Well, we did. We would buy one more bookcase, and whatever couldn't fit in that from my university office had to go. Ninety percent of my library.
Would you like a peek at the shelves at what remains from my cruelly culled 'work' collection? This isn't all that I was able to salvage, but it's most. You won't be able to read all the titles of course, not that you'd want to, but let me show you a glimpse of what's left. These are my (mainly Asian) treasures – the ones I can't part with while I'm alive.
They are out of order just enough to be comfortable (books having been taken out and put back in the wrong place), and I apologise to Professor Wu for leaving him upside-down.
The last two pictures, up to Coomaraswami's wonderful The Dance of Shiva, are of ones I've written, edited or have chapters or articles in. If you're wondering why some are stacked horizontally, it's that more of the smaller books can fit. Of course, the one I want is always on the bottom. That variation on Murphy's Law strikes again.