I’m in the process of redoing my home office, and I’m realizing that while I’ve parted ways with many of my books, I still carry a significant library of books that I’m unable – for good reasons – to part with. I love reading, but the problem, as I’ve stated before, is that I simply don’t get enough time to breathe my way through my collection. I’d say that I’ve read a good 40% of the books that I own. I’ve probably thumbed through more than 80% to at least get a sense of the work, but I couldn’t tell you too much about those ones.
If you’re reading this site, there is a good chance you understand that moving homes can be taxing for one main reason – the load of boxes takes up more room in the moving truck than any other item. My book collection has been cut in half on several occasions, and luckily, nowadays, I’m more apt to pick up a poetry chapbook, than a larger hardcover, but at the same time, even those add up in pounds – especially when there are a few hundred of them.
I moved one of my bookcases out into the dining room because it had a much better aesthetic out there, and my fiance wanted to use it for dishes, and decor. It looks amazing, but at the same time, I’m down a bookcase. So, I’ve realized that I have two choices at the moment – spend money on a bookcase, and lose a bit more room in my already cramped office, or stack the remaining books in 10 stacks, of at least 12-15 books per stack, on top of one of my filled-to-the-brim bookcases. Most of the ones I’ve stacked I’ve actually read, and even have doubles of a good 30% of them – you know, because I tell myself I need them for my classroom – so I don’t mind not seeing them.
I have six major sections of books in my library: Harlem Renaissance, 17th-19th Century British Poetry, Education, Poetry Chapbooks, “Others,” and The Best Of Bookcase.
My favorite books are tucked inside a glass lawyer’s bookcase, and the key for this bookcase is hidden somewhere in my office. I know where it is, and my fiance knows where it is, but beyond that, it will always remain a secret. These are the books that I’ve obsessed about, or fallen in love with, or written about, or written throughout, or written because of, or in spite of, or have learned life lessons by closely fingering through each page. These are my loves. Some of them I take out to re-read several times throughout the year, and some I’ve read, and will simply sit in this bookcase until someone sees it, and truly has a want to read it. These are the books I want to pass along to my future children.
I treat my books like lovers. They are my mistresses. There are those that I finger carefully, until they’ve finished their climax, and reached their resolution, and others that I’ve written on, torn apart, and screamed at in ecstasy or anger. It’s never an easy task to close one, and move to the next chapter, or next storyline. I’m not very good at escaping the past. But these are my lovers, and I treat them as they deserve.