Friday, April 29, 2005

On the subject of book organization

Most of the fiction I read in high school stayed at my mother's house when I left. In college, I went through a long period of extreme miserliness that resulted in my selling back any books purchased for courses. This stopped after I had to reacquire some classics texts for the second time. My book collection is only now recovering, and it does so slowly due to my eclectic methods of book acquisition. Right now I have limited storage space, so the shelving scheme is rather confused.

On top: law texts, leaning like dead soldiers in a trench. Already obsolete and full of highlighting, these are kept to decorate an office.

Next shelf: the pretentious zone in which classical texts and small volumes of poetry hang out, along with the Lord of the Rings boxed set (because it stacks well and has an unobtrusive jacket design that doesn't detract from the theme).

Lower still: half of this is shelved by size; all full sized hardcovers hang out here, but it's also where the lit-fic and Brit-fic gathers, with trade paperbacks pressed tightly against oddly shaped poetry books.

Devolving, we reach the chaotic zone of books I keep for the sake of having books. Mass market paperbacks, used and new, genre fiction and trade paperbacks that lack sufficient literary merit to be shelved one story up, and hidden behind it all are a second, secret row consisting of books acquired while working at various libertarian organizations and the complete works of Ayn Rand. You could probably extrapolate something about me psychologically from this arrangement.

At last, books of reference. Dictionaries, writing and style manuals, old textbooks, notebooks, workbooks. The detritus of past courses and the raw materials for future labors. Also pocket constitutions.

I had a separate shelf of library books, but my housemate and bar review study guides are slowly taking it over. Library books now are scattered willy-nilly around my bedroom. While making the bed today I found three under the pillows.

I really should get organized.
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