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- Sep 5, 2009
- Real Name
- About My Library
- Update October 6, 2017; I have almost completed a purge of my library. I had religiously been saving every single book that ever came into my possession since about age 5. On the 16th I will be 55. So it's a library 50 years in the making.
But some things have come up:
-health issues (serious ones)
-recognition that if I should suddenly die for whatever reason (example, heart attack), then the responsibility of cleaning out the entire house would fall on my children and the executors and the estate. So I didn't want them to face that kind of a hassle.
-Based on surviving into old age and/or seniorhood, I could be moving to a seniors residence sometime in the next 5 to 10 years, and there is no way I could bring all this stuff with me. Whoever is renting out the house from me, be it my kids or other tenants, will want the space for themselves, which I completely understand.
So, roughly the phases were:
1.) About 40 boxes of books I have already completely read, i.e., from cover to cover. (So, it will be somewhat difficult to re-read any of these titles since they are gone now, and I would need to find them again the library or in a bookstore, but that's ok, I can deal with that.)
2.) Next, another 40 or 50 boxes of books that are very recent purchases, to which I have not formed a lasting attachment or commitments.
3.) Next I sent away a lot of reference books that I can find at the library anyway.
4.) Sold my 1962 set of Encyclopedia Britannica on kijiji.
5.) Therefore, what I have kept through all of of the above is the large number of books that I already have read, say from page 1 to page 40 or 150 or 300, because it is premature to send those away. Also, there are some books that I haven't actually started reading, but I know I am extremely interested in that topic.
I also kept some of my books that I am completely inseparable from and have already read at least 75% to 80% of what the author wrote:
-Folio edition in French of Les Miserables, Dostoyevsky novels, etc.
So there you go, I think I am less than half of my previous level of books. Rough guess, I used to have about 6000 books and now I have about 2000. I have no idea, because I never have done an exact count and by no means are all of my books listed on librarything.
Maybe the above entry can be copied and dropped into one of the chat/talk groups on librarything discussing books purges. I would like to see what experiences other people had and see if they have any comments on my experience.
It was painful but it's almost over now.
Update September 27, 2011: I moved house on July 1, 2011. For the last 3 months I have been unpacking books out of boxes. Seeing them now is just as fun as when I bought them the first time. About 90% of the books used to be in alphabetical order; now I think it's about 20 or 30%. I would rather just read now instead of spending endless hours trying to sort them out. Maybe if I have some time off work I can re-sort them later. This time instead of alphabetical by author, I want to save by category, something along the lines of a Dewey Decimal System.
I have been collecting books for about 40 years and I have read about half of them. There are a total of 9 books shelves of varying sizes.
The rest of the books that I have read are from various libraries in the community in which I live.
Things I like to read:
I am currently working on registering my favourite authors under the appropriate profile link. TBA.
I really enjoy going into the library and picking up, almost at random--although like most people I get caught up by looking at the cover art and reading the blurbs--authors of whom I have never heard of before. If I keep reading nothing but my favourite authors, I end up missing out on some of the startling and rewarding surprises derived from taking a totally random new author out of the blue.
If I am in the library reading blurbs, I automatically will read, without any further scrutiny, any books with the following subjects in them:
Characters who work in a library.
Characters who read all the time.
Characters who collect books.
Characters who work in any university or college in the humanities.
Any historical book about characters (usually working in churches, governments, or civil service postions) who read books all the time, and thus see the world only through the viewpoint of their bookishness.
Needless to say, titles like The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, are my constant favourites.
"Un livre qui m'a séduit est comme une femme qui me fait tomber sous le charme : au diable ses ancêtres, son lieu de naissance, son milieu, ses relations, son éducation, ses amies d'enfance !" (Julien Gracq, En lisant en écrivant)
citation tirée du profile de greuh
Update: November 1, 2014.
When I moved in to the new place on July 1, 2011, I built a few new bookshelves to house all of the books that I had accumulated prior to the move. These books found a nice new home on the shelf. But since then, I could not resist buying more books, and they are starting to form piles again. I think it's time to go to Home Hardware again and buy a few boards. I need to get the hammer and nails out of the tool box and build one more shelf.
There are some very good book stores, new and used, where I live. But since I discovered Abebooks and Amazon, I have been able to fill in a lot of gaps in my library that I had wanted to acquire for quite a few years. But it is hard to resist how simple and fast it is to make selections on these two seller's websites. I guess it must be that way on purpose. I don't even have to get my butt up out of the chair to buy a massive haul of books. I sure hope I don't have to move again. Well, when I end up in a senior's home in 10-15 years, I could rent this place to some of my kids, and maybe they would let me keep my books here. Or they might say get all of that junk out of here, we don't want it. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.
After I had started working, but before my kids were born, I took some history courses through distance learning from Athabasca University. I continued with this after the kids came along. Now that they are in their 20s I would like to sign up for more history courses.
In the meantime, I have been taking as many courses as I can out from the library from The Great Courses and The Teaching Company. You will see them in my library. If anybody has tried these out and really likes them, please send me a message because I would love to chat about them with you. Right now I have one about genetics by Betsey Dexter Dyer, but mostly I pick history and literature courses from these 2 publishers.
May 29, 2018: I recently bought a Kindle, and then promptly when on a buying spree on Amazon and bulked up on a slew of authors whose complete works were $0.99 or $1.99 or $2.99.
In English, the works that I purchased were those by Charles Dickens, Maxim Gorky, Rudyard Kipling, Tobias Smollett, Captain Frederick Marryat, Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw, T. E. Lawrence, Longfellow, Anthony Trollope, H.G. Wells, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, George Orwell, William M. Thackeray, the Bronte Sisters, Sir Walter Scott, Francis Parkman, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Henry James.
In French there are: Balzac, La Comtesse de Segur, Alfred de Musset, George Sand, Jules Michelet, Albert Camus, Stendhal, Chateaubriand, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas, Eugene Sue, Victor Hugo and Emile Zola.
There are some in German and Russian and some from the latin Church Fathers. Because I have not really studied those three languages enough yet to really read with good comprehension, it is plain to me that I must do a considerable amount of work on the rudiments of Russian and Latin before I can even read one paragraph in the original language. My German is very close to being good enough to read with full comprehension, especially in grammar. What I really need is a comprehensive refresher on German vocabulary.
With the above, I should have sufficient material in order to be able to read for another 900 years or so.
- About Me
- Around 1970-1972, I was 8-10 years old and my parents' marriage was breaking apart.
For some unknown reason I ended up picking up a Mary Ingalls Wilder volume from the Little House on the Prairie series from my school library at the
Elementary School that I attended at that time in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Hazeldean Elementary School, Edmonton Public Schools).
I became a lifelong reading addict from that time forward, I suppose.
Plus, once I discovered that there were a significant number of volumes in the author's oeuvre, I was over the moon in love with that story.
Here was a family that wasn't disintegrating, which was quite therapeutic for me to hear about.
Later on I came to the conclusion that in a facile categorization, this could be considered a girls book,
but no matter, as I boy I had no concern about that at that time, or now.
I see now that the first episode of the TV series was aired on September 11, 1974.
T. C. Boyle is one of my heroes:
Have you all seen those lottery ads on TV where they show the winners making their fantasies come true with all of the cash they have won?
If they were making that commercial about me, you would see a picture of me sitting down to read for 8 or 10 hours a day, instead of the current practice of trying to cram in all my reading on the bus, or 10 or 15 minutes here and there after work and dinner and the dishes and the laundry are all done, or 4 or 5 hours over the weekend. I wouldn't mind hiring a servant to do all the cooking and laundry so I could do my maximum reading. I do love my job and the people that I work with, but at 52 years old, I have been working steadily for about the last 30 years, and I wouldn't mind quitting it all.
I write for a living. But so nobody gets the wrong idea, I will let you know that what I write is nothing so exalted as fiction, history, verse or drama. These forms I come home from work in order to enjoy. I write technical texts.
While at work at my desk, I answer the phone when clients call in, and I write down what they are asking for, not verbatim, but paraphrased so that the technical staff can convert the requests to system commands.
I have to get a lot of information across, but as economically as possible. I must not re-write War and Peace when asking for a simple transaction. If I get too carried away, my employer might end up having to buy a whole extra server, or memory bank, or whatever it is that stores all my keystrokes for the next 7 to 10 years so that they can be looked up again.
Eliminate all unnecessary words that you don't need, after all.
Get stewed; books are a load of crap.
I only read when my TV is broken or when it is working.
My homage to shaososa.
If anyone wants to hear some hour long interviews with many different authors, please check out CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation = Public Radio) at:
Here's a good citation lifted from the profile of aethercowboy:
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
I have been addicted to reading since elementary school. If I didn't have to work, I would read all day. Usually, I do go to work, but then when I come home, I ignore my family and hide in a room with a book. I think there is no cure for this illness except indulging in more books.
Here is a story that relates to my early days as a bookaholic. I was enrolled in Grade 11 English and we had a teacher who was fully competent at her job, no problems there. She did not offer over-the-top answers to every question like was the style of some other teachers. Thus she seemed somewhat aloof, at least that was the way my ignorant 15 year old mind felt about it.
One day there was a conversation after class had dismissed about what reading for enjoyment it was her wont to do after finishing marking all of our essays and exams.
I cannot remember the exact numerical figures, but she said that she picked up 12 or 15 or 17 books each time she went to the library and read them all immediately. I did not catch on to how often she went to the library or what she meant by “immediately.”
At that time, I think our local library had only a 2 week loan and it was not until some years later that they switched it to a 3 week loan. It was eventually revealed to the group of 2 or 3 students that I was standing in, that she actually read the quantity of books not in a school term, or a month, but rather in a week. (Alright, maybe it was two weeks, but it is more dramatic if I say one week; I cannot honestly remember what the time duration was. But I do remember for sure that she said there was no need to renew them.)
That is when I realized that she was a speed reader. This blew me away. I had heard of speed reading before, but only in those bizarre commercials that usually concentrate on helping you to speed read so that you can make a million dollars, not so that you can read all the books your heart desires for enjoyment.
I have never become a speed reader. I am not particularly slow either. But regardless of the actual speed, I am very greedy about books, and want to read as many of them as possible in whatever time is given to me in this life. Does it really make a difference if I read 15 or 35 spy thriller books in the next 2 years? Does it matter if I ever get around to reading all the way through [[Edward Gibbon]]'s [The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire]? No it does not, but I sure feel like it does anyway.
Random member: http://www.librarything.com/random.php?type=member
Random work: http://www.librarything.com/random.php?type=work
I do things like get in a taxi and say, "The library, and step on it."
~ DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, Infinite Jest
- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
- Currently Reading
- Favorite Authors
- Margaret Atwood, Honoré de Balzac, Samuel Beckett, Alban Berg, T. C. Boyle, Anthony Burgess, Lee Child, Matt Cohen, Joseph Conrad, Robertson Davies, Len Deighton, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Umberto Eco, Timothy Findley, Ford Madox Ford, Northrop Frye, Nikolai Gogol, Graham Greene, Victor Hugo, Henry James, P. D. James, Margaret Laurence, Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann, Joyce Carol Oates, Alexandre Dumas, pere, Jean Racine, Mordecai Richler, Judith Merkle Riley, Peter Straub, Eugène Sue, Henri Troyat, Mark Twain
- Local Favorites
- Interesting Library
- A_musing, absurdeist, antiquary, AsYouKnow_Bob, At.Rest, atimco, avanta7, BeckyJG, billytoast, bjbookman, bookblotter, BookConcierge, Booksloth, Bromius, BrooklnHeights, buriedinprint, carioca, Carolus, Cecilturtle, CliffBurns, copyedit52, Crypto-Willobie, Darrol, divinenanny, dtw42, dustydigger, Esta1923, Eyejaybee, ffortsa, fizzypops, floremolla, Goldengrove, grunin, hadden, hnn, Jarandel, jmoncton, jmulick, kjhill45, LamSon, lilisin, Liz1564, lriley, margad, MarianV, MichaelKeyWest, millsge, misshalcombe, moibibliomaniac, mpho3, MusesPublisher, muumi, nwhyte, nykolaibasket, piano3646, Pianojazz, picture, pmackey, Poquette, quicksiva, raton-liseur, reading_fox, Replay, richardderus, RobertDay, RobertLBaunochJr, Romonko, Rule42, safelykept44689, SecondChances, sgerbic, thefirstalicat, ThomasCWilliams, thorold, tredegartrafalgar, WholeHouseLibrary, wyvernfriend