Thursday, 30 October 2014

Books, Books, Books Everywhere

The other day I walked into the front room where all my books are housed to get something. Something small, like some tape or the stapler, I forget.  I was looking at the shelves and decided I wanted to reorganise my vintage Penguin collection and do something about all the non Penguin books.  The Tasmanian Dog's Home is having a big garage sale on Saturday and I am on the committee that helps organise it and need to bring some things.

I sat down on a chair and looked around the room and in my head I had this beautiful picture of a room of books, immaculately ordered, no books on the floor and plenty of room to come in, sit in the chair and become a real literary hound.  Writing copious blogs and people falling at my door to hear me discuss the books of the world. Delusions of grandeur.
It won't take long to reorganise this little pile of books.
I began thinking I could move the first 600 Penguins onto the hallway bookshelf as many of them are quite frail and old and need more intensive care out of the sunlight of the front room.

Okay, I will take all the books from Steinbeck, Hemingway, James Thurber and William Horwood out of the hallway and swap the shelves. I also have quite a few Lonely Planet travel guides and they could go in the main room too. Can't get rid of them. Never know when I'll be taking a quick trip to Laos.   This took about half an hour to do and it looked so good I went back into the front room to see what else I could do.

Well, I laugh as I write this, let's just say it got completely out of hand and I had books strewn everywhere.

I am going to put all the Penguins on one side of the room, in order, chronologically by the number on their spine and the series they belong to.  I think I will get rid of some of the ones I have that aren't in the main series. Like the occasional Peacock or maybe the duplicate Penguin Specials that have never been properly sorted. The reprinted Puffin that is falling apart.  All the duplicates.

Then I got stuck into the non-Penguin shelves and imagined everyone at the Dog's Home garage sale happily walking away with a bargain of a book I no longer need.  I felt good knowing I would be supplying the masses with wonderful books to carry home and raise money for the dogs at the same time.  There would be many smiling children. There would be elderly people nodding at each other coveting their find.

Everything goes. Clean up the room, declutter, make my mind at peace.   Well to make a long story short.  I have a box of 6 books for the dog's home garage sale and everything else is going back on the shelf.  I had more in the garage sale box but then I went back and pulled them out again.  No, I cannot give you away yet.

Actually these might be better shelved as well. Perhaps I could put all of these over here.
I learned I am not old enough, or mature enough to get rid of all my books.  So what if next month I am old enough to collect a pension.

Some of these books have been with me since I was 10.  All of them have a story. This one I got back in the 70's when we had those discussions at work about African American literature.   The Night Before Christmas is falling apart but it belonged to my mother. If I put it between two other books it won't look like it's falling apart. I  had to work a week when I was 8 to buy the Trixie Belden book for 57 cents at the local dime store in Michigan.

Well, if I put those there then I have to put these here.
I saw this book on the tip shelf waiting for a new home. It needed a home, it needed to be loved, fed and watered.  I needed to read it or I wouldn't be a well read, well rounded person.  Okay , now you know why I have three dogs and two cats all rescued.

I realise I am anthropomorphising my books.  They are alive. The characters come to life at night while I sleep and they talk to each other.  There is a whole community of people in 19th century clothes talking to those characters from the 1960's and learning the America of hippies and inventors and explorers.  Why would I take that away from them.  There are cowboys in my front room. Real cowboys that Zane Grey wrote about and there are lots of heroic dogs and cats. Dogs that saved people from fires and those children who were lost in the hills. There are people that are circling the wagons. There are New York socialites who work in high rise offices wearing really glamorous clothes.
Have I told you about my LP Vinyl collection?
There are academics working with underprivileged children and those children are making something of their lives.  There are American serial killers talking to Australian bush rangers but I try to keep them away from everyone else.  There are whole centuries of activities, people, communities.  So today as I continue to alphabetise the titles they are all going back onto the shelves.  Until my next big cull in another year or so. When the mood strikes me.  I can put this off.  After all didn't Scarlett O'Hara give me the philosophy of my life??
"Oh Fiddlesticks, I'll think about that tomorrow."

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