Thursday, December 13, 2007
Catalogue indeed, what fun is that?
If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?I have never had the slightest inclination to catalogue my own books. I get a book, I put my name in it, it goes on the TBR pile. Eventually it gets read, then it gets shelved, sold, or given away. I see all these fellow bloggers with their handy-dandy library-thing-thingy on their blogs and I think - who has the time? I'm in grad school now, but even when I was working full time I don't think I could have made time for it. I'm just not that anal. I pretty much know where everything is, occasionally I have to hunt but usually I can locate it very quickly. And get this, I don't even alphabetize! In fact I don't organize the books by size, or by color either. I have a very lose system of categorization that includes fiction, favorite books, fantasy/sci-fi, biographies, music, theater, Russian stuff, Joseph Cornell Stuff, modernism and WWI stuff, poetry, neuroscience, other non-fiction, books on acting, books on music, art books, foreign language, reference books, books on writing, a shelf with Penelope Fitzgerald, May Sarton, Virginia Woolf, Iris Murdoch and some books on archeology. A shelf with Herman Hesse, Thomas Mann, the complete works of G. B. Shaw, Shakespeare, and short story collections, a shelf way up top of my bookcase of stuff I'm afraid of like In Cold Blood and Snow, a pile of books in a closet that I'm giving away, and a huge mass of books near my bed, on the floor, nighttable and on top of a shelf, of the stuff I'm going to read in an order that roughly approximates when I think I might get to it. And there are some random piles sitting about the house in no particular order- totally random. Like the one by me now on the side table. In order from bottom to top: If Only We Could Know, The Glass Palace, a volume of rarely done Ibsen plays, The Proud Tower, The Redress of Poetry, Edith Templeton's short stories, Paris Style, The Collected Stories of John McGahern, one of Mavis Gallant's story collections, and 100% Evil. If I had to catagorize the pile, I would say - Books I've begun reading that I truly intend to get to just not right now and that don't fit on the shelf they would go to if I could admit that I might be done with them. See? I know where everything is. Go ahead, ask me for something. Catalogue indeed, what fun is that?