categories: Cocktail Hour / Reading Under the Influence
A year ago I wrote here about my big push to organize and clean out my library, such as it was. And is. You can see the results above–the main bookcase is jammed, still, even with nearly 900 books carted off to various rescue shelters. I posted this photo on Facebook a while back and it seemed to strike a chord. On the right, I achieved a certain order. Poetry, biography, psychology (those are Juliet’s, primarily), gardening. On the left, chaos continues to reign: fiction. Some of these books have been with me from high school–40 years, that is–a few from childhood (Aesop’s fables in a box with my mother’s lovely handwriting). Large numbers are from college and the years after, which is odd, since those were peripatetic years and books incredibly cumbersome. Larger numbers were lost, of course, or given away. But never fear, I was a bibliomaniac, and collected books in great numbers, no matter I was broke. Do you remember all the crazy used bookstores around Union Square? To the right of the photo frame is our ancient and ugly and very efficient woodstove. In winter, one roosts and reads. Behind the camera is yours truly, then another bookshelf: literary nonfiction. And more shelves all over the house, most in my studio. Behind the camera also is a set of double doors and our deck, and out there and down the stairs and across the lawn a hammock, which I’ve just hung for a fresh season of books and naps. I do enough on screens these days–i want to smell the paper. And I want to throw the awful ones across the lawn. And read my notes, the marks of a younger man. In many I wrote the date of acquisition and place. And nearly all of my stories and essays started in the back blank pages of the books in my life.
What do you think? Books or e-books or both?