Monday, August 3, 2009


One of the things that comes out of moving is reacquainting yourself with the contents of your bookshelves - mainly because if you aren't planning on selling (excuse me a moment while I indulge in serious laughter) or donating them, there's nothing to be done with them but pack them up and take them.

(On a quick side note, I do suggest that, when you can, you donate books to places like your local library or other organizations that provide books for free. I managed to unload my shelves of a number of tomes that I simply had not read in ages, and was unlikely to read again, and in the process boosted my local library's collection. By eight boxes.)

On my shelves are some of the old stand-bys, of course. I have Shakespeare and Thoreau and Joyce - the latter of which I'll confess I've not yet read. I've got some non-fiction (mostly about either military history, gleaned from college, or dinosaurs, which have been a life-long hobby), some poetry, and a fair amount of other people's fiction, too. And while a lot of it goes together, in a way, there are those odds and ends that, when you put them on the shelf together, they just look a little odd.

Some of that is my own doing. I group things by genre, and then alphabetically. (Don't look at me like that, it makes things much easier to find than grouping things by, say, where you were in your life when you first heard them.) But there are those volumes that defy this effort at categorization. The "Tao Te Ching" for example... is that philosophy, or religion? Same thing for the "Tao of Pooh" (which I actually recommend as a decent introduction into Taoism). Other times it's just a question of having not enough of one to fill a shelf. I've got books on religion - enough to cover all the majors and some of the smaller - and some philosophy books - heavy on the Foucault and Nietzsche. But not enough of both to fill a shelf, and I figure they're similar enough to go together.

So I ended up with "The Art of War" next to "The Way of the Goddess." The former is something I bought on my own, the latter acquired from an ex-something. (Not quite girlfriend, not quite friend.) It was technically borrowed in exchange for two books on Egyptian stuff, one on their myths and another on hieroglyphics. I never got mine back... Which, come to think of it, has happened before. I seem to have bad track record on lent books. I don't really count it as a far exchange, especially for the lost book on mythology, but I confess the Wiccan manual is interesting.

It did, however, make for an odd juxtaposition, I thought. Nothing profound in that, or at least if there is I'm not seeing it at the moment, but just one of those things were, when you visit a person's home, their bookshelves can tell you a lot about them. In my case I'd think they'd just say I have diverse taste in books, but at the very least I'm never short of something interesting to read.


Kathy said...

Maybe you should open your own library!

Kmcelhinny said...

See you're lucky, you have a great, wide variety of books in which you can take pride in.

Sadly, most of my books are from the publisher and were free so I don't have nearly the fabu collection as you do. BUT now I know where I can get some... *Hints by raising eyebrows*

slcboston said...

Honestly, I'd *love* to work in a library. The local branch down the road is one of those one-room jobs. If they were hiring anything other than volunteers, I'd give them my time.

Damien Grintalis said...

I envy your collection, especially the dinosaur books. I've been hooked on them since I was a kid. Personal faves? Deinonychus and Ankylosaurus. :)