I have been compulsively organizing books all day, and I'm feeling highly unappreciated. S has assured me that he appreciates me, because I was all grownup, and told him that I was feeling unappreciated, and I do believe him, but, as I also told him, he can't truly appreciate, because he does not truly get what I have done. He acknowledged that this was the case, and reiterated his appreciation, like the grownup he also is. Still, I feel the need to document, for the record, as it were. And, those of you who can appreciate--I know you're out there, and you know who you are--I expect FULSOME and public appreciation.
There are a lot of books. Like, you cannot even imagine how many books there are. OK, maybe you can, and maybe you can too, but, no, those of you who can imagine can only imagine in comparision, because the books have never been in one place, out of boxes, in....mmm, perhaps since we left California? And, since then, the books have probably tripled in number. And the number grows, well, not quite every day, but certainly every week, because books enter this house new, used, pre-publication, in the mail, from friends, from grandparents, from stores...we have practically every kind of book you can imagine, coming from everywhere, in at least five languages, and if you're thinking it's out of control, well, it is. And if you're thinking why don't we just get rid of the damn books, well, we've considered, and we've attempted, and we've gotten rid of a few boxes (mainly mysteries), and we've barely made a dent, and we've bought new bookshelves.
When we moved into this apartment, we had seven bookshelves (alas, no built-ins). Since we renovated, we've unpacked, recycled, and bought an additional ten bookshelves. Then there are the piles. We are trying to ameliorate the piles. Please note that, aside from the buying (and putting together), which has been valiantly accomplished by S, most of the "we" in this post is me, though the accumulative "we" is all of us.
As I believe I've blogged before, I have always wanted to organize the books by color. But my desires are always powerful and fraught, confined by the sense of loss inherent in gain, anxious of consequences, yet determined to prevail. This one was no different.
The books are being organized by color. The yellow shelf is most fantastic in its lurid glow. It provides a lovely sample of juxtaposition: Advertisements for Myself, The Iliad, The Birth of Pleasure (Gilligan), Deadly Allies II, and down the way The Book of God and Man, The White Goddess, A Middle East Reader, Manifesta. The playroom has two white cases of white books. The black books are forbidding; I'm sure we'll never find anything there again. I am quite in love with red, purple, and orange.
But I couldn't go all the way. There is an entire bookcase, next to my desk, of books related to one of my major projects. The guidebooks are together; as are the books about writing; the Torahs, Megillahs, Haggadahs, and prayerbooks; and there is one shelf with Freud and Shakespeare. Each of these are on small shelves, in a tall narrow case.
I also reorganized the fiction, which is together, alphabetical, in the living room and dining room. Three cases. Reorganization needed to make way for additional books, unpacked and acquired since we moved in. This gave me enormous pleasure, and I tried to decide which shelf was my favorite, but how do you choose between Dickens-Eggers and Laurence (Margaret)-Mann? Or, really, between any of them?
I tried to get rid of Tibetan, Hawaiian, and Native American anthologies, but...who has Tibetan, Hawaiian, and Native American anthologies? Or such a collection of 1980s poetry and feminism? To get rid of it is to eliminate history. What if someone needs them someday, and we have them? Can't do it.
OK, I'm feeling better now. Back to it. Only three more boxes to unpack, and maybe a dozen piles. And then I can rest, for maybe a month, till they start piling up again...