Serious Books

04/13/2010

NOW it's serious.

NOW it's serious.

Urgency Day: 493

500 Things Item 8: The Historian (paperback)

  • Bought for Sam’s summer reading enjoyment
  • Sam gave it the 100-page test
  • No ambivalence over passing along books
  • Donation to library book sale

Reducing the book collection: now I’m nervous.

Husband, son, sister, mom, nieces, best friend, most friends, and hey, me, too:

Bibliophiles. Big-time.

Paul and I own a fair number of books. More than some, fewer than some. We probably own fewer than most book lovers, but that is mostly the result of moving several times. I have taken those opportunities to cull. No regrets.

Moving doesn’t necessitate library shrinkage. One of the most impressive home libraries I’ve ever seen was owned by my faculty advisor at the University of Oregon. The whimsically nicknamed Lulu had one lulu of a library. She and her husband were both English professors. They own more books than most. They commissioned the design of gorgeous, enormous, hinged bookshelves and had them installed in their home where they completely filled what I think might have officially been their living room. Everyone has their priorities.

The picture at the top of this entry shows 635 of our books. It’s most but not all of our collection. At the end of this project, I would like it to total, in its entirety, 250 volumes.

<gasp>

Why 250? Just a random nice round number?

Not really. When my darling sister read in my blog post about a Guy Named Dave’s 100 Thing Challenge, she wryly observed that she couldn’t even reduce her books to 100, much less her total life’s possessions. She said a goal might be (emphasis on Might Be) to reduce her books to 250.

But knowing Donna as I surely do, this effort would take laudatory and significant pondering, categorizing, inventorying, dusting, and re-reading of her books, along with much use of index cards, Excel spreadsheets, cross-referenced ledger books and oh a cup or two of tea. And some nice dry white wine.

We’re pretty methodical, we sisters.

But I love her suggestion of a personal library totaling 250 books. And it dovetails nicely with my Get Rid of 500 Things project. And I want it completed, start to finish, in that timeframe. I will be thorough and methodical, but my requirements are different from those of my sister. Except for the tea and the wine.

So, the first book that will go to a new home: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Laura enjoyed it, Sam tried it, and I can’t read it—much too spooky. Happily for horror fiction writers, not all readers are as big of wimps as I am.

And if Paul wanted to read it, he would get it on his Kindle. But that debate is for another post.

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2 Responses to “Serious Books”

  1. Donna Says:

    Ok, here’s the scenario: Someone says I’m going to show you a picture and you need to tell me, without thinking or counting, how many books are on these shelves. [Flash — show your blog photo of book shelves] My answer would be about 250. But the correct answer is over 600!?! This is a ’round-Robin-Hood’s-barn way of saying that the book-reduction process is difficult on several levels, the perception of their actual number being only only of them.

    I have pondered the possibility of attempting to substantially reduce *[siku] my library ever since we talked about it last week. Visions of the Augean stables keep coming to mind. If–big if–I try this, I suspect that 250 will turn out to be a ridiculously small number. I think I will first have to count the total number of books currently on my shelves, and in the boxes in the basement, and hidden in cupboards, etc. If 250 turns out to be only ten percent of that number, as I suspect it might, I’m in trouble.

    * siku = split infinitive knowingly used

    Love you, love your blog.
    Donna


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