Commonplace notebook (a red Rhodia? notebook)

Books, Collecting, organizing (MAS 1)

From Episode 379:

All you book collectors out there. Do you have the same problem or are you really organized about it? And should I take time during the sabbatical to organize it? Or not really?

Over the years I’ve been a book accumulator, hoarder, and collector. And I’ve been an organizer, piler, filer, and database-wielding reprobate capturing every detail of every one of the, at the time 1000s!, of books I owned. I’ve arranged books by author, title, year, size, and even color…sometimes with subgroups (poetry! crosswords! mysteries! books about books! books about words! books about books about words!). You get the idea.

And here’s what all of that has left me doing: tossing them all onto shelves in vague clusters by topic and sometimes even vaguer projects.

The work of hyper-organization isn’t particularly rewarding in process or results. But there is great pleasure in seeking and finding—and in its own way, not finding—a book. Going down rabbit holes when a title or cover grabs me, wandering the paths of memory with a book I’ve loved, thinking of tussles with books I didn’t, getting lost in yearning for a book that didn’t love me to change its mind. That’s the good stuff.

Note: MAS is a series in which yr humble servant answers questions—
explicit, implicit, and imagined—from his favorite podcast, Robyn O’Neil’s Me Reading Stuff.

1 thought on “Books, Collecting, organizing (MAS 1)”

  1. Is there any other way? Reminds me of when my visiting sister felt a need to alphabetize my spice cabinet.

    Also of Brian Lambs random shelving of LPs. The entire experience of visiting was flipping and exploring.

    I’ll take entropy for 500, Chris

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