Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Do You Book Freeze? Part 1

All furious readers understand two fundamental truths: 1) books are expensive, and 2) we purchase more books than we have time to read, resulting in overflowing TBR piles and overwhelmed bank accounts. Yet, all furious readers understand the thrill and joy that comes with walking into a bookstore, making a purchase after choosing a title carefully (do we go with a favorite author? do we take a chance on a new title?), and bringing home said title to meet the rest of our books. It is a beautiful experience that can be understood universally by furious readers - to us, a book is more than a book and this desire to read and to collect drives our overstuffed libraries. As we all know, there is no better illustration of happiness and contentment as a house filled with books (maybe if it is also filled with coffee and tea as well?).

Recently, we decided to move, which means we had to pack up our books. Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of readers more than having to figure out how to pack their books. Luckily, we have a method that works - using tote bags instead of boxes to fit more titles and to eliminate sore backs - but we decided to catalog our books before we packed them.

Our app of choice is LibraryThing which allows you to scan your books, organize them, and connect with a community of readers. You can catalog a certain number of books for free or you can catalog and pay a yearly or lifetime membership fee for an indefinite number of books. So we cataloged, and we packed, and we purged, and we ended up with...

...over 2,000 books. In case you want to know what 2,000 books look like in one room, don't worry, we have a few pics for you.

Obviously, this number provided us with a moment of reflection and gratitude for the chance and means to have this many books, while also allowing us to take stock in what it means to be a furious reader. Our culture has the tendency to be concerned with quantity over quality, and with store coupons, employee discounts, professional writing perks, and library sales, we have built a collection we are both proud of as furious readers...but still a bit intimidated by it. However, it also makes me wonder - can a furious reader have too many books? Is there a "magic number" for a library? If we can only read so many books in a lifetime, combined with our usual rereading habits and new titles that come out every month, why hold on to so many titles? Do all of them bring us joy, to invoke the KonMari method?

The bigger question lies in curation. In the act itself, curating offers a chance to self-assess, to validate, and to annotate our literary artifacts.

And so I ask, furious readers:  Do you book freeze?

As per usual, I have some thoughts (and plans) on the subject.

To be continued....
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