So, how did you spend YOUR New Year’s? I find holidays much like any other day – but without mail delivery. Usually at years end I try to force myself to tackle a project that has gone ignored for far too long. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail. This year, while trying to avoid work far more annoying I figured I would do the great ‘unshelving.’ You know that tipping point where you absolutely have to go through all of the books you have accumulated and find proper homes for them. The ones you didn’t shelve immediately, either because there was no room, or you were still deciding whether to keep it, read it or sell it. All the bookcases in my house are full except for one which is empty – that one keep moving around because I have run out of wall space and I can’t bear to put books in it, knowing I will just have to empty it again. Please tell me I am not the only one with that problem. My other demon is dust, I don’t mind it so much when it is minding its own business coating flat surfaces, but when it gets disturbed and decides to mingle with the air molecules – I mind. Basically my nose goes on vacation for a week until everyone returns to their proper places.
This year I unshelved two entire bookcases in my bedroom in order to make room for books I have acquired (like I NEEDED more books) those are the ones made up of a half a shelf of this and a couple of shelves of that. Where you need to take everything down, group them together with like books and then put them all back so that like titles are even vaguely in the vicinity. I was surprised to find that I now have a small collection of books on Antarctica, and an even larger collection of books on Bats. My collection of Latinalia has grown slowly to 3 shelves, mostly kids books, neo-Latin and odd texts. And my collections of travel and food essays have swelled respectively. Who knows why I keep them, I never have time to travel or cook, perhaps I find possession comforting. I also have small collections of books on photojournalists, heirloom gardening, and of all things forensic sciences, and a very large collection of cookbooks for one.
While dusting with my trusty shoe brush (which is the ONLY way to get everything out of the fore-edges) I DID find a few things way up in the top shelf that I had forgotten about: 2 books I had a small child and one of my college text books, I even found the only book I ever stole ( I was 10, it was from the adult section of the library – they wouldn’t let me borrow it. I’d have returned it by now but that library closed 20 years ago.)
The process of unshelving and rearranging and reshelving will take me days. Even after I cull out books, I no longer want, and books I can’t remember every buying in the first place, I always seem to have X number of shelves and X+Y number of books. That’s got to be some sort of universal mystery, like odd socks and cats conforming to the shape of their container.