Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mountains of Books

Yesterday, I tackled one of the big projects on my to-do list for Gutting My House In Preparation For Being Stuck Inside For Six Months. See, here in upstate New York, we have two seasons: winter and construction. The road cones and detours are slowly disappearing, so it's almost time for the other season.

The project? Coralling our collection of books.

Now, it's been quite a while since I've done a thorough inventory of the volumes we've acquired over the years. I decided that, since I knew my son had outgrown some of his books, and both my husband and I had a few we no longer needed because we'd probably never read them again, it was past time to let some of our books go. I gathered a few boxes and started sorting, intending to have a nice little donation for our local Salvation Army. (We wouldn't sell them on eBay or through Amazon used books because our books, while still quite readable, have obviously been well-read. We are not collectors . . . we are readers. Our books don't stand on decorative shelves just so we can proclaim to visitors how worldly we are through ownership of books. :-)

I ended up with seven boxes stuffed with books.

Now, you might think: with seven boxes of books to give away, how many could you possibly have left? The answer may shock you. We have a very large shelving unit, currently re-housed in our living room, which contains a few hundred books of varying shapes and sizes - from a tiny board book with a cute story about penguins, to dozens of paperbacks, to an enormous volume belonging to my son entitled The Universe. This does not include:

* The books still hiding under my son's bed and/or in his closet.
* Those strewn about our bedroom - on the dresser, slipped between the bed and the wall, on and in my husband's desk.
* The stack in the bathroom, all in various stages of reading progress.
* The overstuffed three-shelf unit in my office containing my reference books, some non-fiction titles on a variety of bizarre subjects, and novels written by my friends and/or signed by writers I've met at the National Publicity Summit.
* The full encyclopedia set and the gazillion National Geographic magazines still boxed and sitting alongside the living room shelves, because there was no more room for them.

Though my aching shoulders protest accomplishing this project in a single day, I'm satisfied to have done it. Now our books are organized and accessible, ready to devour. Of course, it's only a matter of time before the collection burgeons again, and the books are set free to find their way throughout the house. I predict we're going to need more shelves before the next construction season.

How about you? Tell us about your book collection!

1 comment:

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Oh, SW, I can SO relate. And it's funny, because last night I was just staring at the almost toppling pile at my bedside (it's getting dangerous! I might get crushed in my sleep!) and thinking I would do a little organizing today. My problem is, I can't get rid of the books I love. Neither can my wife. So... we have gigantic storage boxes in the attic with all our favorites organized by author. Yes. I actually did that one year. LOL! We have containers of Rex Stout, John D. MacDonald, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Agatha Cristie, Dick Francis, Clive Cussler, Robin Cook, Mary Roberts Rhineheart, Tony Hillerman, Helen McInnes, Isaac Asimov, Laurie R. King, and so many more. Each has their own gigantic tub, because of COURSE we had to have every single book these authors ever wrote. Or close. Now, if we read a book I'm just iffy on, it goes to the Salvation Army. Or, actually, I don't even finish it. Why waste time? There are so many great books in the pile, waiting to be read!

Nice article - one we all can relate to!