Saturday, November 25, 2006

My library

To tell you the truth, I have no idea how many book I own, nor how many books I have read over my lifetime. If I had to take a wild guess, I would say I've read about 5,000 books, and I've probably owned about 4,000 books total at one time or another.

But why don't I know? I'm glad you asked. There are two reasons.

Reason One: I have moved four times in the last five years. Where I live now, I do not have any bookshelves except for a small rack in my writing office, and it holds the thirty or so books that are my "to-be-read" pile. Almost every book I currently own is stuffed into boxes in my attic, or in boxes in the bunny room (where my three house rabbits live). So, books are scattered everywhere, and I'm sometimes surprised when I stumble upon something I read thirty years ago because I didn't know I still had it.

Reason Two: I have a habit of giving away books to libraries. I do this about every ten years. I pick out books I know I will likely never read again, or want to read, then I take them to the local library of wherever I'm living at the time. I've done this three times in my life, and I'll probably do it again within the next year.

When I was a teen-ager I had a compulsive need to keep everything I read. No longer. I've even given away a few books I really liked, simply because I knew they were easily replaced. And I don't collect books for any financial value. First editions and signed copies mean little to me, though I have a few, and I read them. When I go to an author's signing, it's not to get something from him or her I can sell on eBay; I want to meet this person for professional reasons.

Well, I gotta run. I do most of my posting at work, and have to get back at it.

1 comment:

Howard von Darkmoor said...

You're correct, Ty, in stating that a library should not be just a complusive possession thing nor a way of investing. I edit my library about once a year and usually only remove 1 or 2 books from it. My to-be-read books aren't on the shelves; when I finish a book it goes to one of 3 places:

1. I donate some books to my local VA hospital for the vets to read;

2. other paperbacks go in my swap box to take to my favorite paperback exchange store that I've been going to for almost 20 years (thank God she's still in business - the other 2 I knew as a teen are long gone; she's only making it because her monthly rent is less than $100 per month in this old, now-condemned building);

3. Keepers make it to my shelves. Certain books I want my daughters to read and I've come to be relied upon by extended family and friends as their local library. In fact, there are 3x5 cards sticking out all over my bookcases with the date and name of loanees.

Swing by sometime and check out a few.