About Me

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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How many books do you have

in your house that you haven't read? Or that you have read and can't part with?

One of my favourite stories about a writer is a story about one of my favourite wrfiters. Umberto Eco. He lives in an apartment in Rome or Florence in a very old (centuries old) building. He has so many books that one day the floor collapsed beneath the weight of them.

I have a lot of books and I'm one of those people who doesn't keep all my books. If I know I won't re-read it (and I'm an avid re-reader of books), I put them in a bag to take to the Salvation Army.

But even with this culling system, I have a long wall full of bookshelves - and they're jam-packed. Books piled two deep. Books piles ten or twelve high. Books thrust in all higgledy-piggledy because there is no more room for them.

I also have huge to be read piles. I have them everywhere. Piled on top of my desk. Piled on certain select shelves on my bookshelves. Piled on pretty much every flat surface in my living room and bedroom. They're everywhere. If I read nothing but those books it would probably take me (and I read very fast) six months to read them all.

You'd think that would stop me from buying new books. It doesn't. I think I have a certain threshold of unread books and I can't go below it. If the piles on my desk get smaller, I go shopping. If the pile on the shelves beside my desk gets smaller, I go shopping. It's a safety thing, I think, though I don't know what I think would happen if I got down to - say - 50 books in those piles instead of the many times more than that I have now.

I have non-fiction books I want to read. I have writing books I think I might read. I have novels of all kinds I will read. I have poetry books I haven't opened yet - or, more likely, have read a half dozen poems from - but know I'll want to read the rest of them one day. I have books I haven't read about some of my favourite subjects. I have books friends have given me, books friends have written, books I've seen and bought because of the covers, books friends have recommended.

I wonder what would happen if I grabbed all the books in my house I haven't read and found somewhere (there really isn't anywhere, but I'll pretend there is, that I have an extra room somewhere) to put them. Or a ceiling high bookshelf just for the unread books. And then I'd put them in order. Kind of a FIFO system - the oldest ones go at the top and the newest ones at the bottom and I'd read them in order.

It'd never work, but it would be a fun idea to see them all together...


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