“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
— Jorge Luis Borges
"A room without books is like a body without a soul."
"Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house."
— Henry Ward Beecher
"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."
— Mark Twain
Book reviews #25 (Hello American Lady Creature by Lisa Kirchner) and #26 (The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh) are now up on Amazon.com. Click the image above (or HERE) to see all 26 reviews.
"The long walk to Harvard Square calmed her nerves somewhat, and gave her a purpose. Before returning to the empty flat to make the unavoidable call to her mother in New York, she would buy a copy of Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. That promised to be easier going than The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. The bookstore clerk had never heard of this but Bronwen had discovered it on Eric's bookshelf the week before. He, in turn, had inherited it from the previous occupant of the flat — or so he claimed. Bronwen wondered now if a female of Gina's ilk had left it there the preceding winter. The pages gave off faint whiffs of a vaguely European cologne, 7-11 Gesundheitwasser perhaps. In any case, she would definitely need something to read on the bus trip and Rilke's story of a young Danish nobleman losing his marbles in the disease-ridden slums of Paris was definitely not the ticket. Not now."
— from The Girl Pretending to Read Rilke by Barbara Riddle
A couple of the latest additions to the collection. They include:
This just arrived: Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. I'm 39 pages in, and it's every bit as great as I had expected. I will post a full review on GoodReads.com as soon as I'm finished.
Our newest acquisition. Aside from being fall-out-of-your-chair funny, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh (adapted from her wildly popular cartoon blog) should be required reading for anyone with a friend or family member struggling with depression. Anyone who has moments of introversion, OCD or fixation will appreciate her fearless, brutal and hilarious self-analysis. Brosh is a great storyteller.
A few of the most recent additions to our household: on the left is Trish's currently-in-progress stack and on the right is my currently-in-progress stack. These include a number of books generously passed along to us by our wonderful (and equally bookishly inclined) friends Kristen and Bill. My most recent acquisition — which I picked up from the UPS Customer Center today, because they can't stuff boxes through the mail slot of our new home, a second-story walkup apartment in St. Petersburg — is titled Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture by Maria Elena Buszek, an assistant professor of art history at the Kansas City Institute. I just started it a few minutes ago, but I can already tell you it's pretty interesting, quite educational and very well researched.
The result of our most recent attempt at organizing our collection, this is our latest dedicated shelf, containing all our sailing books, with some of our sailing-related magazine subscriptions spread out below it:
Our latest acquisitions -- many of which are school- or work-related, many more of which are decidedly not — are overflowing our existing shelving and it's time to seriously consider yet another bookcase . . . if we can figure out where to put it. This afternoon I separated and sorted some of Trish's most recent comic book purchases (below) and found space for them in the computer office.
We have successfully completed moving all of Trish's books down to Florida and consolidating hers (maybe 300-ish of them) with mine (around 700-ish or so at the time). At that point they were all shelved and were mainly, that is to say, semi-mostly, sort-of, kind-of, largely organized by title, subject, author, theme and/or size. Size, ultimately, tends to be the biggest limiting factor. Often, they simply get put wherever we can find room. We did end up buying two new shelves; that helped clear some floor space.
As for the rest, well . . . we do the best we can. Sometimes there is no alternative but to leave a stack of them lying on any available horizontal surface.
Neither of us ever set out to collect books or amass a library; it just sort of started to happen. Counting shelves and using averages, I estimate that we now probably have no less than 1,000 and no more than 2,000 books at this point (not including magazines), and the number keeps climbing despite the occasional reluctant purge.
Keeping them meaninfully arranged so we can find things when we need them is always a challenge. The current categories are:
Of course, some books always defy classification. Do I put Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in the "Travel and Adventure" section? Or in "Religion and Philosophy"? What about The Bridge Across Forever? Is it a fictional autobiography? Or is it autobiographical fiction? Is it a book about flying? Is it a book about mysticism? It's all of those things. Fellow book lovers sympathize with this never-ending dilemma.
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