Hating My Books

05Feb07

My reading job started up again today. I vet to-be-published manuscripts, and my employers must like me because they generally give me stuff I’m excited to read. So, in keeping with my post-per-book formula, here is a blog post to go with the book I finished tonight. I’m not reviewing these books on this blog because I don’t want to speak out of turn and get in trouble, so the posts when I read for work will cover reading-related topics.

We recently moved. It was a relatively easy move, and we had a lot of help. But any move, no matter how painless, will make you hate your books for one simple reason.

A box of books is really freaking heavy. And when you have a lot of books, you have to move a lot of heavy boxes. The boxes strain your back and have the annoying habit of dropping on your toes. And then comes unpacking.

I like to organize my books. Fiction gets alphabetized by author, and non-fiction gets grouped into categories:

  1. Film–history and theory alpha by author again, filmmaking subgrouped into screenwriting, film production, and other
  2. Writing general–these sit near screenwriting
  3. Plays
  4. Screenplays
  5. Poetry (this section got much bigger when I merged my copy of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel with my husband’s much more substantial collection)
  6. Books that deal with violence against or by women, books with a general feminist slant (Susan Faludi, Germaine Greer, Naomi Wolf) and true crime, abnormal psychology, and criminology all basically go together
  7. Books on Christianity (Lewis, Yancey, Nouwen, Bonhoeffer–though, funnily enough, Kathleen Norris doesn’t go here, she goes with the feminists)
  8. Knitting
  9. Cookbooks
  10. Fitness and health
  11. Nonfiction that doesn’t fit in anywhere else, which are very few in number. I like books about Jesus, angsty women, and crazy people–or all three at once, like in one book I have called Christian Men Who Hate Women, which happens to be AWESOME. If you like that sort of thing.

As hateful as they are in their heavy, unwieldy boxes, as soon as I got them on the shelves, all in their sections, all in their places, I fell in love with my books again. Space dictates meant that I had to stack some of them horizontally, meaning that some same-sized books get grouped together regardless of section. I like to think that my ability to resist the siren song of alphabetical ordering is a sign that I am becoming less uptight with age. Or it just means I need one more bookshelf so that I can turn all my books back to vertical and get them alphabetized again.

Until I get more books, of course.

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3 Responses to “Hating My Books”

  1. Tell me about it! Having moved 3 times in 3 years, plus moving our bookshop when we closed it, I’ve decided that we are never moving again. Never! Unless we get rid of our books first…hmm, maybe we’re just never moving.
    And you’re in good company with your horizontal book grouping; Samuel Pepys’ entire library was organized according to size.

  2. Getting rid of books is SO not an option šŸ™‚

  3. 3 Wesley Dumont

    Someone should post on the behalf of the spouses and significant others in the lives of booklovers who move. There’s a hatred for books that doesn’t subside so easily… ; )


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