Unpacking our books has been the most fun part of moving so far. My husband and I are both readers, and we have a tendency to buy books and reread them multiple times. So we have a substantial library. Over the past 3 years I have been buying more books on Amazon Kindle and the overall library size has dwindled somewhat as I’ve replaced some worn out copies with electronic versions. I’ve also restricted most of my new purchases to electronic versions in order to save on space. Many of our books aren’t available on Kindle however, and replacing them all would be cost prohibitive. Plus, I just like books. I like the feel and smell and look of them on the shelves. So we still have 8 large and 3 small bookcases worth of books in the house, plus another few bookcases of assorted games, photo albums, and objects. I didn’t actually count them but I would guess it’s somewhere around 1500 or so books.
I like to organize my books by category. That’s one reason I did most of the book unpacking this move. Organizing a library works better when you have one organizational plan structuring the process. The major categories in our library are science fiction and fantasy, children’s fiction (further broken into the board books and preschool books which are my daughter's now, and the school age books from my own childhood which will be hers to read when she is able), literature and fiction, non-fiction, religion, humor, and cookbooks. The fiction categories are further arranged by author while the non-fiction is grouped roughly by topic, containing travel, reference, economics, history, science, textbooks, green living, parenting, philosophy, alternative medicine and then other miscellaneous topics. Technically religion should be categorized under non-fiction but between my husband and I we have so many books on Jewish and Christian thought, with a smattering of other religions thrown in, that we made a separate section for it.
Yes, I realize I am a really big nerd, but that’s okay. I’m comfortable with that. I like being a nerd, and nerds do research. That’s one of my strongest skills; the skill I value and use the most of the many wonderful things I was taught in school. When I’m faced with uncertainty or a new situation, I do research. Hence the wide variety of books in my library; when something happens in my life I am fairly likely to go buy a book (or two, or three) about it. I don’t always know something or know how to do something, but I am good at looking it up and then figuring it out from there.
It was fun to sort through all the books. It felt a little like meeting old friends again, remembering when I had read a book and what it was about. When I pick up a book I tend to remember not just the general plot line and characters but also who gave it to me; when and where I read it; and what else was going on in my life at the time. So shelving books is a bit of a trip down memory lane for me. My “to be read” list grew quite a bit as I worked. I found old fiction books that I loved and know I would enjoy revisiting. There are quite a few non-fiction books that I read long ago that I’d like to read again in hopes that I would understand them more deeply now. There are also quite a few books that I just haven’t gotten around to yet, as sometimes I buy or people give me books but they get buried in the bustle of life. I want to read them though, so now I have added them back to my list.
At my most wistful, I wished for a year off to just sit and read for 6 hours a day. I don’t think I’d make it through my entire library but I could make a huge dent in that reading list. That’s completely unrealistic, of course. I have a mortgage and a small child, a demanding job as well as family and friends with whom I enjoy spending time. It’s a nice fantasy though. It makes me smile.