Happy New Year.
We spent most of our NYE day organizing the library and doing a book cull. As we contemplate a house renovation--which is being delayed by about six months from the original start date in June--we have been staring at piles of books that don't have any room on our shelves. And even though we stand to gain about thirty linear feet of new shelf space as part of the renovation, we realized that without a bit of discipline we would have those shelves filled before they are even built.
|The sort and cull in progress.|
As usual, I have an ongoing internal struggle with trying to develop an acquistion and rentention policy that will satisfy my bookmania while recognizing a finite amount of shelf space. (Although I should note that John indicated for the first time that shelves of books might be tolerated in other parts of the house...) My biggest problem is trying to determine which books I want to keep. As far as fiction goes my tendency is to want to keep harder to find novels even if they aren't a favorite. I hate the thought of less than popular novels being lost in the mists of time. Sometimes I feel like I am running a one-person seed bank, except instead of heirloom seeds I am banking obscure, unloved books otherwise destined to be pulped. The problem with this approach is that one's library can become clogged with books that don't necessarily represent one's reading tastes and many of the covers look pretty ratty on the shelves. And then there are those books that I keep around just to prove that I have diverse reading tastes. If I didn't keep these one offs I would have a library filled only with prolific favorites like Atwood, Anita Brookner, Sinclair Lewis, Iris Murdoch, Muriel Spark, etc. Those collected works can take up a lot of shelf space and crowd out any possibility for variety.
Getting rid of a few gems
I did finally realize that I do not need four copies of Oryx and Crake. I decided to jettison the two signed British first editions and the signed Canadian first edition. In the first place, the pages of the British first editions are already starting to discolor like some seventy-year old paperback, and in the second place, I reasoned that even signed first editions of the late work of a very popular and proflific author like Atwood are unlikely to be worth much during my natural life.
I also decided I didn't need two copies of Dorothy Whipple's Because of the Lockwoods. For so long my desire to find non-Persephone novels by Persephone-published authors went unrequited that when I stumbled across a second copy of this one I bought it just because I could. Although to give me a little credit, I also bought it because of the aforementioned worry about books by obscure authors disappearing just because their fans haven't found them yet. I decided that I could also get rid of the old hardback copy of The Priory that I found. I love the Persephone edition, I don't need another.
|The pile that is being donated to the Chevy Chase Friends of the Library|
The Priory will go to anyone living in the United States who really wants to read Whipple but is thus far, a Whipple virgin. (My review is here.)
My extra copy of Because of the Lockwoods will go to the Whipple fan in the U.S. who would love to find a non-Persephone Whipple in a haystack but just hasn't found the right haystack. (My review is here.)
If you are interested, leave a comment and let me know which one you qualify for. (Remember U.S. addresses only, gotta use the media mail rate which only works in the U.S. Plus, I want to keep these on this side of the Atlantic where they are really hard to find.) I won't draw winners until January 31, 2013.
|The book with the wistful lady on the cover the copy of Becuase of the Lockwoods|
that I am keeping. The one with no dust jacket below it, is the one I am giving away.
My five-point book plan for 2013
I am forever making book plans for myself and then never keeping them or failing or, you know the drill, you are the same way. (Although I can think of a few bloggers who do seem to finish every plan/challenge/dare they start.)
1. Read only books from my TBR pile from now until April 1st as part of CB James' TBR Double Dog Dare. This one should be fairly easy for me. I have tons and tons of books in my library to choose from. I really like this dare because I always find some really great, long ignored, books on my shelves.
2. Finish A Century of Books challenge. Of course Simon finished all hundred of his with a day or two to spare while I sit here with forty-some to go. I would really like to finish by April 1st, but that may just be setting myself up for failure again. I do know that I will finish it by the end of the year, for sure. (Here is my latest list.)
3. Read at least 100 books this year. I think I have only cracked the 100 books mark once in my life. And 2012 was a really slow reading year for me. But the big research/writing work project is in its final throes so I should have a much easier time reading more this year. Plus, in an effort to encourage my friend Roz to reach her goal of 100 books for the year, I challenged her to a race: which one of us can get to 100 first (or who comes closest by December 31st). I've seen her play air hockey so I knew she was competitive. But now that the gaunlet has been thrown down, I realize that she isn't the only one.
4. Buy no books in 2013. I am not sure if I am really committed to this. I am not even sure I philosophically agree with it (I live to keep booksellers in business), but I am going to try. With renovation work in the offing I don't need to spend the money, nor do I need to add more books that will have to be boxed up and moved while the house is under construction.
5. Have a Pymtastic year. The centenary of Barbara Pym's birth is being celebrated this year and Amanda and I will be hosting a reading week in June. I also plan to go to Boston to the Pym Society's annual Pym conference in March. Cauliflower cheese is on the first night's menu (see Some Tame Gazelle). How could I not go?
Before and after the cull
|I guess this is more during the cull than before, but it does show how untidy the library had become.|
All tidy and ready for a new year.