Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Books, books and more books

I have hundreds, no, thousands of books in my home.  Books are among the things I most enjoy and prize and among the things I'm downsizing and decluttering, in an effort to make my post-life cleanup as easy as possible for my daughter and her husband.   Not that I'm going anywhere anytime soon, just that despite eight years, the memory of cleaning out my mother's house after her death is FRESH in my mind.  It was a hideous experience, and one I will not wish on my own kid and grandkid(s).

I have First Editions, autographed books, antique books and "trashy" romance novels.  I have reference books, text books and teacher manuals.  I have self-help books and Dummies books.  And, of course, I have kid books.  My favorite among those is about the squirrel, Miss Suzy  I so loved this book when I was a kid.  I might even not get rid of it.  Baby Potatohead has to get stories read to him sometime, right?

I look around my room, which is where I am right now, and I long for the day when listing books will be as easy as just looking at the book.  Yeah, I know, it seems a little big-brotherish to me, too, but oh, for an easier way to list all these darn things.

For instance, here's one I can see on the dresser.  I have the hardback, of course, because if I really like an author or a subject, I want to get the books that will hold up best under repeated reading, and yes, I do read books more than just once or twice.

I love Anne McCaffrey - all the Pern books, all the Pegasus books, all the Acorna books - and own almost all of them in hardcover.  I did read a romance she read and um, really didn't like that one.  Other than that, if AM wrote it, I've read it and liked it.  I've continued to read stuff she's "written" with her son, Todd, I think, after her death.  The style is not the same, and I've enjoyed them all the same.

I can see two, count 'em, two hardcover editions of Bullfinch's Mythology.  I'm sure one was mine and the other was my mother's.  I probably even have several more around here somewhere.  My mother believed that if a book was worth recommending to students, it was worth having several copies, so she could loan (lend?) it out to them if they couldn't get it themselves.  She was a teacher, by the way.  English teacher by day (she graduated from college the same year I graduated from high school) and other odd, strange and bizarre things by night - astrology, numerology, tarot, world religions, mythology (she favored Egyptian, where I favor Greco-Roman), , magick, etc.

I see two Robert Heinlein hardcovers - Job: A Comedy of Justice and Friday.  Of course, the links don't take you to the hardcover books, probably because no one selling on Amazon has them listed. 

In addition to that, I have an entire box (more than one to be honest, but only one within view), full to overflowing, of paperback romances - the steamy stuff.  I've read a LOT of romance novels, and the older I get, the more I like the ones that have sex in them.  The ones where the two main characters never even kiss during their "courtship" are just not realistic, and in my opinion, they're generally written in a juvenile style. 

Of course, I also have my foot-and-a-half tall stack of library books, because buying books at this point in my life is just not useful.  I mean, what's the point of getting rid of books to declutter when I just buy more that I might not read again for three or four years, or even longer?

So, authors, I read your books.  I don't buy many anymore, and I'm sorry not to contribute to your pocketbook, particularly if I really enjoy your work, but logic and selfishness wins out on this one, I'm afraid.

I'm experimenting with different ways to send my books to new homes.  I use listia, eBay, Amazon, paperbackswap and goodreads right now.  If you know of other places to list used books of different types, please let me know.  It'll take me a while to get them all gone, so I have time to try out different ideas and sites.  I am obviously open to sites that don't involve me getting any actual money in exchange.

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