Okay. It’s a little messy. A lot messy. But I’ve spent my life collecting every volume on those shelves. (There are four other floor-to-ceiling bookshelves just like this one, but I couldn’t fit them into one shot.) There are a few first editions, but most of them wouldn’t bring a buck at a used bookstore. And fully sixty percent I know for a fact I’ll never crack open again. But……aargh!
I have a well-documented book disorder. This disability used to be widespread among the general population, but I fear it has gone the way of the giant sea turtle. I love the way books feel. The way they look on my shelves. The way they smell. It’s what I won’t ever understand about the e-book thing. Sure, it’s easier, cheaper, more convenient when you travel, and saves the twenty minutes I have to drive to get to the closest bookstore. (Don’t get me started about how there may not be any bookstores by the next time I write a blog.) But when I walk into a bookstore or the library, I go into a different zone. And it isn’t the zone I’m in when I’m lying flat on my back staring at the screen and scrolling down the iBook or Kindle list, either. That feels like pushing a broken cart down the aisle at Wal-Mart. No, I call it the “roaming in the gloaming” feeling when I’m floating down the aisles where real books live. They could all be mine! I can buy one, hold it in my hand, see it next to my pillow with a bookmark in it, knowing that I get to pick it up when I’m snuggled in bed, flip to my place, and then enter another world with a sigh.
But at some point, you look up at that great big bookcase and know one thing for certain. You gotta make some room! For more books, of course. So next week I’m finally going to do it. I’m going to march out to the garage for the big ladder and start at the top shelf. (After pushing aside the books that have flowed onto the floor in front of the bookcase, of course.)
I can do it now because I have a plan. Progeny! The strange encyclopedias and “Great Ideas” books my parents gave me can now be passed down to the younger generations who have to take them because I’ll say it’s a family legacy. I’ve got children and two niecelets. I’ll guilt them into it. That’ll clear off at least two shelves! And then there are all those child-rearing and stepfamily integration books I can donate. (They are reared, we are stepped as much as we’ll ever be.) Even easier to dispose of are the craft and hobby sorts of books: knitting, scrapbooking, photography. I’m of the age that I feel no compunction whatsoever about developing interesting hobbies. I’m lucky to get through my day jogging my dogs, fighting off the gophers and moles in the garden, and staying awake until eleven. Hmm. Still need more room. Of course! I’ll get rid of my husband’s books! He is a non-fiction reader and has the memory of an elephant. Never reads a book twice. Done!
So. What’s left over? Why, all of my books, of course. Just look at all the room I have! Hey, I’m a writer. I might need them some day.