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How many books do you own; how do you shelve them?

 
 
msolga
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 06:51 am
@dyslexia,
You know, I'm not quite sure of why I've kept those old books on my shelves. I don't think they'd impress anyone, because hardly anyone else goes into the room where most of them are.
Sometimes I take an old favourite down & read bits again. (I do this with E E Cummings quite a bit.) I love lending them.Sharing a book I really loved with someone I know will love it, too, is a great pleasure. But sometimes it just boils down to: I loved that book & I can't bring myself to throw it away. Not yet, anyway. Will I read it again? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Plus, there are the books I mean to read, but haven't gotten around to yet.
The good thing is now I've stopped buying new books. I've discovered the library. Much more sensible!
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 07:10 am
@msolga,
well msolga, I see you have expressed your opinion re the amassing of books and a good an opinion it is too. other posters have also expressed opinions; that often occurs on forums such as a2k. Be it food or advertising or gardening or home decorating, opinions are a social phenomena that can expand our universe or diminish it. I try to support variety whether I'm in agreement or not but one thing's for sure, I do enjoy debate.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 07:16 am
@dyslexia,
Smile

On the credit side, I should add that I've off-loaded many more books that I've kept. Many, many more. Which is just as well, in this lilliputian-sized house I now live in!
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 07:20 am
@dyslexia,
What if you merely find it easier to extract a book from a shelf than from the bottom of a rickety stack?
Sglass
 
  3  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 07:26 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
I just donated what constituted a lifetime collection of art books to the Volcano Art Center.

I got to thinking about the day I would longer be on God's green earth, but in it, and that all my books would end up at Goodwill Industries that I made the decision to make my collection available to the community.

The only stipulation I made was that the reading room at the center be renamed the Seaglass Reading Room. They didn't do it.

My collection of books were mostly in cartons waiting for eternity to turn them to dust.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 07:39 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

What if you merely find it easier to extract a book from a shelf than from the bottom of a rickety stack?
that's quite a reach soz, extracted from a phrase that precedes "rickety stack" with people who "display" books ostentatiously. Personally I would describe Lady Diane's reading chair as being surrounded by numerous "rickety stacks" of the books she's currently reading. She seems to mange extracting the book she wants handily. And Yeah, we have bookcases as well.
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 07:55 am
@dyslexia,
Quote:
but over the years I've come to realize the collecting/amassing of books in one's home is a neurotic behavior indicative of a poor self image and inferiority complex,


How might this differ from someone who collects cars and ostentatiously washes them on the driveway or ostentatiously drives them around town for no other purpose than to ostentatiously drive them around town, Dys?
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 08:01 am
@JTT,
not much, I assume.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 08:33 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
I have a lot of books, but most of them are in boxes in a storage room.
I keep a photography book that my son gave me on a table in my living room because I like to look at the pictures.
I keep some poetry books and a Bible in my office because I like to read them - but poetry is really the only sort of literature that I'd read more than once - so they're the ones I keep out along with my dictionary and thesaurus.
I also have some atlases - of America and Great Britian. I like to look at maps.

I have all my fiction books packed away except my first editions of all of Pearl Buck's books (The Good Earth is signed by Pearl Buck and inscribed to Will Rogers) and Laura Ingalls Wilder books.
My father gave them to me and I keep them on shelves in my little 'snug' room along with all my vinyl albums. I keep them out because they remind me of my father and I enjoy remembering and thinking about him. I don't reread them at all though. I just look at them while I'm listening to music.

I have about fifteen cookbooks out on my kitchen counter - this kitchen has a good amount of counter space, so there's room for them there.

I keep my library books - the ones I'm currently reading- on my bedside table. I only read in bed - even newspapers.

I no longer buy books, but I keep the ones I have because they are meaningful to me and I want my children to have them. A lot of them were given to me by my father - he also loved to read and encouraged me in my love of reading. I've kept all my childhood books and all the childrens' books I bought and loved to read to my children. I'm hoping they read them to their children someday.

That's why I don't give them away - also because I'm a sentimental keeper. I can't give anything away that means something to me or has brought me good memories.
For instance, I'm glad I kept all my vinyl albums while everyone else was selling theirs. I've lugged them around from house to house and was beginning to feel a little silly doing that, but now I have this machine that allows me to download my albums - I can make them into cd's.
Who knows - maybe one of my kids will have a little girl who likes to read Pearl Buck and Nancy Drew and Little House on the Prairie books like I did - my daughter loved them - maybe her daughter will too.
So I think long and hard before I just give stuff away.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 09:07 am
@dyslexia,
I'm just trying to figure out what an ostentatious display is.

Does organized = ostentatious?
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 10:08 am
@sozobe,
Does organized = ostentatious? no ostentatious=
1.
characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others: an ostentatious dresser.
2.
(of actions, manner, qualities exhibited, etc.) intended to attract notice.

I'm pretty sure you knew that.
sozobe
 
  4  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 10:23 am
@dyslexia,
I understand the definition, just trying to figure out what YOU consider to be an "ostentatious" display of books.

Upshot -- I like books, I have a lot of 'em, they're mostly pretty well organized but not all of them. Hardly any teetering stacks, there are some stacked between two bookcases 'cause we need more but they're not teetering and not "active" (they've been read.) The bedside table stack is only about 3-4 deep. I don't think it's ostentatious and can't figure out if you would. But whatevs, not a big deal.

Personally, I like houses with a lot of books in 'em. I don't think any of them with actual books that people read are ostentatious. I only object to the ones that are bought in bulk for the color or leather bindings, for decorating purposes. (And even then, if you have to do mindless decorating, I guess I prefer that to, like, Thomas Kincaid paintings.)
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 10:38 am
My books throw my decorating scheme out of whack. None of the colours match, the sizes are all helter skelter and some of them are missing the covers. I do find them useful and I don't think anyone has ever showed any interest in any of them, or looked at them. Ces't la vie. Didn't buy them for anyone but me anywho...
People collect all kinds of things. I don't have any useless knickknacks. I routinely purge all the dust collectors I've been given or inherited. Books on a bookshelf... just makes sense. Protects them from the elements (kids, dog, dust) and gets them off the floor, which if you were to think about it, actually helps my decor have some semblance of being neat and tidy.
Now, my art/jewelry that is ostentatious. I guess.
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 10:39 am
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:
...when one has books meant to be read then the books themselves are the function, when books are displayed they are the environment no less than an over-size flat-screen t.v. is the environment. the environment can be said to be accoutrements of the resident.


I agree with you.
The thing is, I like living in that sort of environment. And I like thinking of my books as my accoutrements.

(I have read most of them, btw.)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 10:46 am
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:
One does not become more intelligent or better educated by ones garish display of books.


so what's it mean if there are a lot of books - but they're not "on display"?
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 10:49 am
@sozobe,
this is an interesting discussion in a number of ways, it's a discussion of opinions as are many forum discussions. In my life I've been a hoarder of books, taking spare rooms, adding bookcases to bedrooms etc. I am not anti-books anymore than I'm anti-california, I do express opinions and one of my opinions is that I've seen a trend among people I know to amass various "stuff" often in the vein of conspicuous consumption. over the years I have become an advocate for simplifying, not only in an ecological sense but beyond that to valuing quality of living vs quantifying life. ie american families have consistently become smaller yet over the past 25 years the average square feet of american homes has doubled in size. This quantifying of life, does not, in my opinion, result in improving quality or happiness and may very well have the opposite effect. according the the threads I read here and what news I read the masses are dissatisfied with current education, food quality, manufactured junk, t.v. junk, the list is endless. I shall continue to voice my small opinion as long as I can full well knowing no "enlightenment" is on the horizon. I do not offer answers but I sure would enjoy more people asking themselves questions.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 10:52 am
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:
ostentatious=

2.
(of actions, manner, qualities exhibited, etc.) intended to attract notice.

I'm pretty sure you knew that.


ahhh, like photos of/comments about a car

dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 11:14 am
@ehBeth,
yeah, I've already addressed the Porsche and enjoy it I did, when I could not longer enjoy it I sold it and now someone else enjoys it. am I a hypocrite, sure. you've made your point beth so whatever I might say in the furture should probably be ignored.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 11:15 am
@dyslexia,
I agree with you. I live in a wee house. I chose to live here. Didn't want to spend my life cleaning a big useless house. I save money on the mortgage payments and the small gas/electric bills and I take that money and travel. Many of my friends have monster houses but have never been anywhere save Vegas or Mexican all inclusives.
Mind you, most of them have hardly cracked a book, so...
I think inquiring minds have something in common. I'd rather be happy than house poor, or surrounded by shite, but a book is something I will generally revisit.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 11:51 am
I'm a so-far-life-long reader. For several decades now, the books I've bought have been from used book stores, except for text books for my landscape architecture studies. I've amassed a lot of art books, but then, I'm a painter, whether or not I am painting these last few years. I've followed cooking for decades, and accumulated a lot of cookbooks, none recently.

When I left Los Angeles, I gave my books on mexican art to the local high school. When I left Humboldt County, I sold a bunch of books to the good used book store, and gave away probably 2/3 of my cookbooks. Gave away or sold a lot of my travel books, aaaaaack; gave away or sold (for little) my "collection" of police procedurals on italian or other art theft.

You won't see books in my living room, although you'll find a lot of art paraphenalia. Oh, wait, I do have a stack of books on photography there, if you wander over to the top of the cabinet that I put in front of the unused fireplace. Those will be some of the last books I'll get rid of.

If you look in the pantry closet next to the garage door, you'll find the cookbooks that I still look at. There are some I need to sell. I need income, and a few of those books are worth serious money.

If you look in my bedroom, you'll find a window ledge of books I mean to read - for example, a clutch of paperbacks of latin american titles suggested a few years ago on a2k by fbaezer; a few treasures on history of italy and other matters that I've either read and want to keep, or mean to read, like the Braundels.

If you look in what I think of as the crappo room, you'll find my old drafting table that I can't put together by myself, my parents' bed and later mine that the movers broke and that I didn't find until months too late when I emptied the storage facility (I may still glue those two legs together) and......
some containers of books I will work through as to selling - my garden design books, construction books, architecture books, italy books. Most of the books in that room are sellable, and most of them will make me cringe to part with. Garden design books were tools for me, as were many of the others, and are part of my understanding of self and the world.. well, really, all the books I've kept are.

The computer room - I have a garden/garage shelving of steel (cheap at Home Depot) that has a series of bungie cords helping me keep books falling off the open sides - those are the remaining art books. Few people ever visit my computer room.

We all have different takes on what is important to have around us. I can understand and tend to admire those who live a spare life. I have little family at all and few local people (though many un-local friends) and I find comfort in the continuity of the books and my memories. However, I've a million year old car and no tv, much less an expensive one.

So, yeah, I'd love some good bookshelves, if only to facilitate my efforts to sell books on amazon, etc. I happen to like good bookshelves for themselves - and, hah, I have two books on bookshelf history and construction. If I did get new bookshelves, I'd enjoy them for themselves.



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