The cartoonist and illustrator Tom Gauld is well known for his Guardian cartoons, especially in the Saturday review pages. One of his more popular items appeared on the 9th June this year; entitled ‘My Library’. This inspired my friend Chris from Calmgrove to take the idea and write his own list based on Tom’s categories. Chris is in the middle of downsizing his book collection, as am I. I loved reading his answers and asked if I could steal the idea. Chris was only too happy to share. If you haven’t read Calmgrove, go over and check his site out. Not only is Chris an amazing book reviewer, he will introduce you to books you’ve probably never heard of but should.
I am not so much downsizing as I am getting rid of books in order to make room for new ones. It’s a shell game. Between amassing a huge collection of medieval books (it’s starting to look like the British Library over here) science, religion, philosophy and for the last three years, Shakespeare related books, I am feeling rather squeezed in. Books are starting to show up in some rather inconvenient places. I’ve begun the painful process of trying to decide which books must stay and which ones I can live without. Last night I learned a valuable lesson on how to do this. Simply remove all books from the shelves, clean and move the shelves then start the process of reshelving. Trust me, after an hour of sorting and moving books, you quickly find out which ones you don’t want to spend another minute on. Though painful both physically- I dropped a shelf on my foot- and mentally my efforts were rewarded. I now have a small library in the spare bedroom, though this is only a fraction of the books I own. Sigh..this is going to take awhile.
I’ve read the majority of the books I own. The reason I keep them is because most are used for reference. And as I could not possibly remember everything I’ve read, my nonfiction –which are most of them- sit collecting dust just in case I need to refresh my memory. It amazes me how many have come in handy for college papers. I have an almost up to date master list housed over at Librarything. This list says I own over 600 books marked as “Read”. Considering it is not quite up to date, I’d move that closer to 700. I never did include my college texts and old novels.
Intending to Read
Here in lies my overflow problem. I have a bookshelf dedicated to books I need to read as well as books housed on tops of shelves. Last year I figured out it would take two books a week to turn these into Read books. But as I keep adding to the pile, it’s now going to take three or four a week. I really need to turn the cable off.
Full disclosure, many of my half-read are in my Intending to Read list. If a book is half read due to it being bad, it is easy to get rid of. But, if I think I may come back to it (yeah, sure Sari) I keep it.
Pretend I’ve read
I cannot imagine pretending to read a book. But then again, I am a terrible poker player. My luck, if I said I read a certain title, the other person would be all set to talk about it, in great detail!
Saving for when I have more time
This category goes hand in hand with my half-reads. Sometimes I realize I am not giving a book my full attention, so back it goes for when I have time.
Will never read
If I could get myself to admit that many of the books on my Intending to Read shelves will never be read by me and just give them away, we’d all be the better for it.
Purley for show
Coffee table books count right? I’ve got a few books on famous painters sitting under my glass coffee table. The books on this shelf are for show, but I have read them. That doesn’t count, right? Just makes for good conversation with the right people.
Read, but can’t remember a single thing about it
Refer back to my answer as to why I keep so many of my Read books.
Wish I hadn’t read
I am certain, over the years there have been many books I wish I hadn’t read, especially when I was a copy editor, but the one that jumps out is Twilight, but this book stayed in my house a few days. After that I had a priest, a shaman and a rabbi come over to cleanse my house, because I couldn’t figure out what possessed me to read that rubbish! There are days when I still feel the urge to bleach my eyes.
Now, back to sorting!