So the other day I, Carolyne Aarsen, went to look for a book I wanted to lend out. I couldn't find it on my office bookshelves, so I went to our other set of bookshelves. A set of bookshelves that completely fill a wall about 20 feet by 8 feet. The fellow making them didn't think we'd ever fill them up. Then a couple of days I ago, as I said, I went hunting for a specific book.
Now before I go further you need to know - I'm a book person. I can't deny it. I love books. I love having books. I love buying books. I love lending books out. I love reading them more than once. I like to support fellow authors and I like to fill up bookshelves. But when I couldn't find this one book amongst the myriad of books in my house, a book I knew I had,I realized it was time to do a purge. I had books stashed double on shelves. Books piled up in corners of my office. Books filling pieces of furniture that were not really meant for books. So full of fervent zeal, I started.
Well, it was harder than I thought it would be. I held books in my hands and found myself going back to the first time I read it. I thought of the magic it brought me and the place it took me. This one couldn't go. And this one helped me figure out what I was going to do with a character. This one taught me how to treat emotions without getting maudlin (don't know if I've learned that but the writer of the book had a handle on it). This one was a favourite of my children. This one my mother gave me for Christmas. This one came from my father. These are from an author who I love. And on and on. Each book dredged up a memory or taught me something. But I persevered. When the book purge was over, I had a pile sitting in the middle of my office.
Now I have to decide what to do with them. So if any of you bookaholics out there are interested, for your reading pleasure - I have a book on The Pitman Method of Shorthand, a nursing textbook from 1989, The Art of Cross Examination from 1955, mangled copies of The Broken Snare, Jude the Obscure, Crime and Punishment, some Louis L'Amour westerns, assorted paperbacks that I can't even identify anymore and a brand new copy of Edgar Sawtelle. If I don't hear from you in the next two years, I'll have to move that pile of books from my office into the living room. Sounds drastic, I know, but it has to be done.