Monday, September 1, 2014

My Bookshelf

I cleaned my office recently, a major undertaking since for the last year I'd been using it simply as a depository for all of my junk.  (It looked like a room from that hoarders show.)  It took me over 5 hours, when all was said and done, but it's totally worth it. I can now sit in it, write in it, watch movies in it...all far, far away from my fiance because as much as I love him, we've been spending WAY too much time in the same room since he lost his job.

One of my undertakings was um, putting all the books back on the shelves.  The piles of books in that room were pretty impressive, I must say.   And not all of them were books I was planning to keep either. Those went down to the basement with the several boxes of "books to eventually get around to selling."

My book shelves were so pretty when I was done, I just had to take a picture and brag about them:

And now you're saying "Leigh, that's it?"  Yep, I'm afraid so.  I used to have hundreds of books. Really, HUNDREDS.  They overflowed 4 large book cases, into closets, into boxes. I hoarded them. I had every book I had ever gotten since about the 3rd grade. (That's when I became a book worm.)

Alas, I lost my job and then had to walk away from an up-side-down mortgage (I bought my house about a year before the market collapse) and ended up homeless for 6 months (well, I was on my grandma's couch). It wreaked havoc on my book collection.  I sold about 400 of them to a book seller for a nickle each, and I ended up leaving a few hundred behind when I had to leave.  (Foreclose on my house? You're gonna have one hell of a mess to clean up. I left almost everything behind.) And this is what I have left, even after 3 years of "recovery."

The two small shelves hold my non-fiction (the sparse one on the left) and my myth/legend/fairy tale section.  Highlights of that collection include a picture-filled biography of Arthur Rackham and a 1930's copy of Anderson's Fairy Tales, which has the most gorgeous illustrations. I've had it since I was a kid and its where I got my love of fairy tales.

The big wooden shelf I got when I was around 12 or 13.  A neighbor of my uncle's passed away and her relatives told him he could go through her stuff. Well, when he saw how many books she had (several layers against more than one wall), he called me. I took home a hundred at least that day, along with this shelf. I wish I'd taken all of them.  I also saw my first Playgirl that day (she was an eclectic old lady).

I have a mix of American and British paperbacks of Harry Potter. I got rid of my first edition hardbacks because they took up a lot of space. I hear they can be worth a lot of money, but mine were terribly battered.  A handful of my teenage books survived the move and most of them are here. M. E. Kerr was a big favorite, Margaret Mahy, and Paul Zindel. I have a 1970's boxed set of a few of his books on the top there.

 This shelf as a few random books, but it also has some of my most prized books. My Robin McKinley books are on the left, including a very early printing (possibly first paperback but I'm not sure) of Beauty. I've gone through 4 copies of that book since the age of 12 and I read it every year.

On the right are my Bordertown books. I discovered them when I was 13. It's a shared universe fantasy world from the 80s/90s created by Terri Windling full of runaway kids and punk elves on motorcycles. Half of them were already out of print when I discovered them so one was stolen (but paid for) from the library and over the years I've paid outrageous sums for a few battered paperbacks. A few years ago they released a new collection for the first time since 1998 and I cried real tears. Some of the novels have since been re-released too, but the cover art on the old ones are better.  Oh, also here are my My Little Ponies. This is collection #2. The first one was lost when I lost my house--I had about a hundred (all vintage), many of them rare too.  With the new show prices have gone up and I just can't bring myself to start collecting again...but I have a few.

I don't have a lot of comic books.  I'm not a
fan of super heroes and as a result just never got deeply into them in general, though I love pictures with my stories. I have the complete Sandman collection, and a couple of the Sandman books Jill Thompson wrote and illustrated. I think those are out of print. I only have some of Neil's books, but I am a big fan.

I have Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan series, which I have read over and over.  I have Alan Moore's controversial Lost Girls series. It is beautiful and sexy.  I have some Buffy and Firefly comics but honestly season 8 was just kinda creepy.  I have the single-issue comics from when the show was still on the air too, but they're in my special Buffy collection in the closet. (I had a thing...) Oh, and Tank Girl. Actually I love the art but hate the writing. The movie was better.

Here's a few really old books. My prized possession is an 1898 copy of Study in Scarlet (the bottom one). The middle is a 1920's A Christmas Carol and the top is an 1860's (I think) copy of Merchant of Venice.

I used to have lots more old books, but all are gone now. There is a box of children's books in my closet, my very favorites that I can't get rid of. They include my boxed set of the Little House books.

Losing nearly everything I owned (what I had left all fit in a mini-van, and that included 3 cats in carriers, 3 people & a 50cc motor scooter) has really changed my idea of stuff.  I only keep books I really love. These books pictured are either 'To be read' or 'will read again.'  Most research is done with library books and the internet instead of buying more books.  If I can get it on kindle for free/cheap, I'll just have a digital copy.

Sometimes I really miss having an irrational number of books, but then, I miss a lot of things that I left behind. I try not to dwell on it too much. So these are my books. I hope you enjoyed the tour. What's your bookshelf like?

1 comment:

  1. So sorry you had to suffer this :( It would break my heart to dispose of something so well loved - but.....because I had SO MANY lovely books, I realised my dream and opened a second-hand bookshop.

    It has been (almost) heartbreaking to let go of some books, but being realistic, I'm trying to keep the ones I REALLY love (and they're with me still). But, it has been incredible meeting book-lovers who come into my shop, and I'm really happy to "share the knowledge"!

    I have quite a number of (very early) paranormal romance books by some (now) very famous authors - and I still can't convince peeps that they are a great read! I have also 'cheated' by (slightly) over-pricing some of my academic History books in the hope that I'll get the chance to read them again!

    Keep those you love; release those you like; and remember the joy of actually having READ something wonderful!