We are inundated with books.

Of course “inundated” might not be the right word since they have only come from upstairs, but our living room is rather overrun right now.  We haven’t made a huge amount of progress putting them on the shelves yet …

… although I’m working on it.

We’re still in the sorting out stage, which I think is tied (for me) for difficulty with the trying-to-decide-shelf-order one.  In Austin, we had our favorite books on one little set of shelves, and then the rest by genre/topic/author.  Right now, they’re going into strict piles: fiction, and a stack (or two) for each letter (authors’ last initials); anthologies; poetry; light/consumer non-fiction; coursework non-fiction/textbooks sorted by topic.

We have quite a lot in the first and last categories, as most of our books are either gifts, or textbooks.  John and I have 31 years of high school, college, and graduate education between the two of us – and even eliminating 8 years of strictly research, that’s still 23 years of coursework!  Of course we haven’t kept all of our books from that time, but quite a good number of them….

After we finish unloading and sorting the boxes (of which we have around 25 total, I think) we’re planning a secondary sorting: keep and display, keep but don’t display, sell/give away.  By that point, hopefully deciding on our display scheme will seem less daunting.

This might take a while.

P.S.: Do you like John’s stack of boxes in the corner?  It’s more than 12 boxes high, I think.  Here is the best shot I have of the Tower:


13 thoughts on “Books!

    • I agree. I actually do most of my reading in e-book form (on my ipod) for the convenience (and cost-effectiveness of checking them out from the library) but I do love reading a real book. We’re going to try to build our physical library with more intention from now on – choosing nice copies of books that we love to add to our shelves, but not keeping the ones that are just so-so.

    • That is a fascinating idea…. and although I love it in theory, the idea of actually implementing it is a little overwhelming. How could we possibly choose the order? (And do you have to take into account that some favorite author might be kind of a jerk in real life, or perhaps prone to trashing your house during the dinner party?) But while we’re in this sorting-out stage, I’ll think about it.

      Maybe we could have a dinner-party section, and a blacklisted section.

      • Fair points all! I would suggest perhaps order them in the same fashion that you like their work. That way the best would be easy to hand and visitors would have an insight into your reading as well as the books. It is quite true that some could be quite unruly if actually invited, but that would provide dinner stories for years to come. “See that shoe? Its Germaine Greers. We found it in the light fitting. What a night.” ” Did I ever tell you about the time I had to stick a fork in Salman Rushdies behind to get him into a taxi?”

  1. Books! Now that is a truly impressive pile of good reading. One of my favorite things to do when I move is spend a year re-reading a good portion of the books I just moved. I guess I feel I should stay acquainted with them if I plan on packing them from home to home. Maybe that’s just me, but I love it. I love to re-read. Good luck on your sorting & display project. (and your knitting project)

    • I love your idea of re-reading your books with each move. I do enjoy re-reading favorites, and try to do it from time to time, and although it didn’t cross my mind to do it systematically, it has been great fun extracting all of these books that we haven’t seen for almost a year and a half. I might have to implement your suggestion. That is the point of carrying books from place to place, after all, right? (… and perhaps I’ll go further actually read the ones on our shelves that I haven’t ever picked up myself. I think most (all?) of our books have been by someone or other, but there are some that are John’s that just haven’t interested me enough, yet.)

      (The problem with the idea, though, is that during grad school, I built up a list of books to read, and ever since the end of May I’ve been churning through them at the library, making up for lost reading time. I’ll probably be inclined toward more re-reading once I’m done with that list.)

      • O I totally get that. My list is HUGE so it does get hard to go back to stuff you’ve already read. I think I implemented my re-read philosophy out of necessity, as I was broke and unable to buy new books but had plenty on hand. And I’ve a strange and inexplicable aversion to e-readers and libraries. I know – shame on me.

        • No, no shame – I understand the love of books, and of your own personal books. I much prefer owning my own copy to bringing home ones from the library.(Although I always feel like I’m getting away with something – pulling a fast one on the whole world – when I walk into the library and walk out with a book without even having to pay for it!) I have actually only done the physical-library-book thing while in the direst of student budget straits. Then once I had less time (in grad school), the (small amount of) reading I did consisted entirely of gift books until John got an ipod touch and introduced me to the glory of free e-books from Project Gutenberg, and I was hooked. While I love real books (perhaps that is obvious from this post?) there is a lot to be said for being able to hold one of any size in a single hand while stirring oatmeal for breakfast or a pot of pasta for dinner, and having a nice back-lit screen for reading in bed, and slipping one into any purse I want to carry. I didn’t think I’d like it – and even though I ended up enjoying the experience, myself, I definitely wouldn’t call your aversion strange. I remember those days….

  2. I stopped saving so many paper books after moving in/out of a 5th-floor walk-up… Maybe I can help you sort them (at least alphabetizing within your categories) when I visit!

    • I don’t blame you at all – we did two moves in/out of second floor places (three if you could storing these on the second floor for the last year) and that was miserable enough. Five floors … urg.

      And thanks for your offer of sorting help, although as I mentioned, we sure hope we’re through them before then! :)

  3. Pingback: Books: Progress! | puddle-wonderful life

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