Adventures in Reading

The Perfect Personal Library
October 26, 2007, 7:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

dscn0901.jpgI have just spent the past few minutes wondering how to start this post. What I would like to say is that I have collected books for many years (more than a decade!), but I keep finding myself stumbling over the word “collect.” Not too long ago I picked up a book on collecting books, which ultimately was about how to Ziplock and properly store books you never intend to read, but rather one day hope will have a great resale value. I do not collect books. However, what other word could I use? Saying I gather books certainly does not sound right. What I do is find a loving and caring home for books, and it just so happens that few homes seem more appropriate than one of my bookshelves.

Today I lightened my book load by roughly 30 books, but then of course spent roughly twice of my profit on ten new books. Five of these books include: Brendan O’Carroll’s The Mammy, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Compass Rose, David Bezmozgis’ Natasha, Franz Kafka’s The Complete Stories, and Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down. Despite this new financial investment I am quite pleased to watch my library’s growth as it shrinks from unwanted books and grows with new pieces of literature. I can also say that I am quite proud of my well-used and well-loved collection, which reminds me that at some point I really ought to start cataloging it.

Today’s picture was taken approximately two years ago (if not more) and during a time when I only had two shelves rather than the four I currently own (not to mention those stacks propping doors open).


Even as I see my friends avidly collecting books, I am getting rid of my surplus. During the past five years I have given away, sold, or donated approximately 2,000 books. Not to worry, I still have over 1,500 left, with more coming in from Amazon.

I think I spend as much time cataloging my collection and touching my books as in reading them.

Comment by Ms. Place

Ms. Place: I have definitely started getting rid of the surplus, and it seems for every few books I purchase I sell or give away a bag of books. How do you go about cataloging your books? Do you have a computer program or is it a personal system you use?

Comment by bookchronicle

Oh, I use a personal system. All my history books are shelved in one bookcase, then arranged according to era and country. All my art books are together, and then arranged according to art, architecture, sculpture, etc. Novels are arranged in alphabetical order according to author, but favorite novelists get their own shelves. Cookbooks are shelved in the kitchen, and music books sit near my CD player. I have no problem finding anything, except when someone takes out a book and then reshelves it. I then go crazy looking for it until I’ve found it.

I once listed all my books in the computer, but that became more trouble than it was worth when I started giving books away en masse.

Comment by Ms. Place

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