It’s not always because I might read them again. Sometimes, yes. But the more I think about it, really it’s usually something else. Books are a timeline. They are memories. It’s a lifetime on the wall, turning points, enduring points. They help me remember.
One reminds me of my grandfather’s laugh. Another reminds me of the twinkle in my grandmother’s eyes. Numerous ARC’s (advance reading copies) bring me back to working at Vroman’s bookstore sixteen years ago. Others remind me of book clubs that have come and gone. Classes in school that opened my mind. Some are gifts from dear friends. One brings me back to my compartment in the Amtrak train running fast over the rails in Ohio.
On top of that, stories keep me company, as they always have. And I like being in the company of authors whose writing inspires me. They are tangible hold-in your-hand inspiration. They are entire worlds contained between a front and back cover. I love to be surrounded by adventures. And I write in my books. I flip through them every once and a while to see the sentences I’ve marked. Ones that sparked me. And I remember.
I just bought a separate bookshelf just for my to-read books. Yes I may have a book buying problem. I have a conundrum when it comes to my shelves. I love the look of a full bookshelf, but I’m always buying new books. So where do I put them?? Buy more shelves. It’s never ending. I think my real solution is somehow I need to get the Beast’s library or go to the Game of Thrones’ Citadel. (I find it no coincidence that fantasy stories have wonderful libraries. These authors know what we really fantasize about.)
All this being said, I think it’s time I do a real clean out. Go through each book Marie Kondo style and make sure each book is a story that brings me inspiration or brings to mind a memory I don’t want to let go of.
When someone asks to borrow a book, I twitch, how long will my memory be gone? I realize some of you will read that and think I’m insane. That’s okay I realize not all people look at their books this way. To some books are just bound pieces of paper (Who are you people???) and I’m afraid they will look at mine the same way. Books are not just books to me.
After writing this I realize I’ve organized my shelves all wrong. I need to make a visual timeline. Oh man…. I have become the literary version of Rob in High Fidelity. I need to tackle the great reorganization, autobiographical style. Yes f’ing way. I can show you how I went from T.S. Eliot to I’ll Give you the Sun in just twenty five moves. Oh this is going to be fun.
Off to empty my shelves….