We stopped calling our books a collection. It is now officially a herd; a wild, roving herd of irresponsible size. I once tried to gather it all in the same room with the hopes of organizing, counting and recording. That was a whole lot of nope from which we never really recovered.
But we decided today that we needed to come to terms with the scope of our free range book beasts. So we bribed ourselves with the promise of burgers and set out on THE GREAT BOOK COUNT. It took both of us working for 2 hours straight, but we did it. And there is only one possible conclusion to be made; the books are breeding amongst themselves. Somebody has been slipping these passive herbivores some lysine-laced bookmarks. Oh lord where is Ian Malcom when you need him!
But all joking aside, (I am occassionally able to pull this off) having a book collection is a hobby in and of itself. A hobby separate from the joy of reading. We collect primarily thematically. So we take a special joy in assembling these like-paged friends. This is our Roman History, Middle East, Myth and part of the Middle Ages/Medieval collection.
And here is the same shelf after a shot of bourbon.
For fiction we mostly aim for editions. We love NYRB’s reprints of forgotten lovelies, Everyman’s Hardback Classics, Science Fiction Masterworks and Easton Press leather-bound classics for special occassions.
This is a wild she-cat roaming the American West collection.
I cannot tell you how long I have spent attending to my shelves and being lost just in the mere prospect of a new adventure. I will fall asleep anticipating something that caught my eye, demanding to be read next. And sometimes I never fall asleep at all because I could not wait.
People will tell you that material possessions cannot bring you happiness. But they could not possibly mean a book to be a simple possession, a mere adornment. How could something that transports you, transforms your thinking and shapes your perspective on life itself be called just a decoration? Our libraries are living things detailing the paths we have taken and those on which we have yet to embark. They reflect our sensibilities. They are at the same time a shelter from the world and a exposure to its small truths.
And now as promised, the count…
3,294 Books. Loved. Read. Unread. Referenced exhaustively. Dusted. Petted. Occasionally slept on by cats.