Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Library-A Writer's Collection

Eventually, this blog will be public space. So, this post serves as another kind of introduction (see blah blah category, your warning that I am running on about Ann T.).  It will also introduce the book category. If you like books, this might be a blog you'd enjoy checking fairly regularly. I will hope for that.

I used to work in a bookstore, ten years in fact. When I moved from Louisiana, I had (along with my husband) about 3,000 books. Hey, except for some textbooks and a small amount of fiction, it was all mine.
I was moving into a vastly smaller space. I had to cut down. This was easy for everything except the library. Everything had significance. I loved it all, or I wouldn't have it, right?

I think to a book lover, one's bookshelf shows first, your love of reading. You've committed space and furniture to these objects. You prefer your own copy to a library book that someone has smashed a candy bar into between pages 164 and 165.

Second, books that meant something at the time. They might not matter so much now, but they were a part of my life development. For me, that includes some odd combinations: Richard Brautigan v. Jane Austen, for example. In the nonfiction category, this includes books that PROVE I took philosophy classes--not otherwise evident, I assure you. A diploma takes up much less space, but you can't consult it for review.

Third, those books I plan to read eventually. I still have some of those. James Joyce's Ulysses, Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding. All three will take long weekends and I think high self-esteem to finish. I have the Complete Woiks of Shakespeare, but that doesn't mean I've read every play. Stop being intimidated when you come to my house. Like all good intentions, that bookshelf's partly a long con, baby.

Fourth, as a writer, I have books I consult. As with cookbooks,  you don't have to read the whole thing.
Books on British and Celtic history, the Vikings, the Regency period in Britain and the Napoleonic Wars, the Civil War, the American West, World War II, California Wine Making, and International Relations--and--

how households lived, how they cooked and dressed, managed their households, had sex (yeah, they all had sex-go figure-I thought kink was invented in 1968), and practiced medicine and practiced agriculture.
 Woo-woo Astrology and Jungian archetype books to help me spur character development--and--

Books on Strategy and War, Police Work--that's what I'm collecting now.

Previous to the move across country, I got it down to around 1500 books. No used bookstore in town would give cash for books (unfortunately), so I took the long way around. I would trade three boxes of books for some weighty tome (such as the Encyclopedia of Britain in the Hanoverian Age--(gorgeous and, largely unread) or hardback version of a disintegrating paperback I couldn't bear to part with otherwise.

Six years later, I'm down to about 1200 books.  Even at 3000 books, the library was an incomplete reflection of my habits and interest. But, you know, I'm way out of room.

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