26 February 2015

Page By Page

I've been diligently working on the massive bookshelf over the past few days.  Diligently defined as shelf by shelf, book by book, and in between other chores, television shows, and anything else that distracts.

I'm surprised and horrified to find that there are three full shelves of books that I still need to read.  Three shelves.  It's safe to say: I have issues.  No more book buying for me for a while. (<-- lie="" total--="" total="">

I try to not keep a book that I know I'm not going to read again but that hasn't always been the case.  It used to be that I kept them willy-nilly until the house threatened to cave under the weight.

When we first moved into this house, I didn't have the big bookcase yet.  I lined up the books below the big window in my office.  I loved how it looked but it drove Kevin mental.  Now I try to keep them in the bookcase as best as possible.  And I'll admit, once I had them picked up and put away, I did feel a little better too.

Fun fact: when we packed the old house and moved into this one I didn't mark the unread books.  They became all mixed up and I'm still finding a book that I bought years ago and never read.  A fun surprise sometimes.

It's difficult to cull through books because I have a wide range of "Why did I buy this?" to "I can't believe I still HAVE this!" to "I don't know that I ever read this." For one thing, there is something pleasing and comforting about looking at stacks or shelves of books.  All the potential.  The "Oh, I loved that book!". The pleasing esthetic look of them.

I will admit that I have an entire shelf of old-school paperback Danielle Steel novels dating back to my high-school days.  Imagine my horror when I realized these books were thirty years old. 
In my defense, back-in-the-day Danielle Steel used to write these epic novels. Well written, complicated storylines, multi-character stories. Stories about the Romanovs, the Titanic survivors, behind the scenes of a television show.  Now it seems like she churns out novels as if she just copy and pastes character names and descriptions into different settings.  It's disappointing, really.

But I've kept these older novels because of the rainbow color bookcovers.  They sat on a lower shelf and were just lovely to look at.  But now that shelf space is at a premium, I'm going to have to let go.

As I took them off the shelf, the dust was thick, the bindings stiff and brittle, and the pages yellowed.  I feel badly now that they've been left to deteriorate on a shelf.  I'm still keeping a few of them, age be damned.  The rest of them will go to Goodwill.  

I have a big stack of books by two different authors that I'm now wondering why I have them.  I read the jackets or just a few paragraphs and I'm over it.  I don't know what happened there. Perhaps I liked one or two books so I did the "BUY ALL THE THINGS!" and that's why I have them. I blame second hand shops and Amazon. Tastes change, I realize.  Maybe if I made an effort to really sit down with them then my interest would be rekindled, but that defeats the purpose of this whole exercise.

Book snobbery has come into play a bit as well.  Oh, the jacket cover is gone: can't keep you. The binding is cracked: nope, off you go! Cover is out-of-date and unattractive, thanks for playing but no.

So, I have the categories of "Haven't Read" "Can't Bear to Part With" "Read but Look Forward to Reading Again" and "Not Sure but Feel Compelled to Keep."

 It's daunting but I know that I will probably cull again when packing the remaining books into boxes and unpacking said boxes back onto the shelves.  I'm also going to play the surgery card and have Kevin load them into the 4Runner so I don't get all wistful and sentimental.

Stacks of books whose fate has yet to be determined

1 comment:

Swistle said...

You are inspiring me to maybe do the same. I have a lot of books I got from the library, loved, and thought "I MUST OWN THIS"---and then never read again. I think I need one shelf for "Re-read to see if I really want to keep them or not."