Not Just Another Grouchy Grammarian

Musings about language, books, grammar, and writing in general

Archive for the category “storing books”

A New Year, A New Start…Maybe

While this is not the venue I journal about my life in general, let me just note that the past fall has been one of the roughest I’ve seen. My roommate spent much of it in hospitals and a nursing home dealing with things she had avoided dealing with for years. I lost – in rapid succession – two very good friends of over 30 years. I have been undertaking – with the help of a friend and the more limited help of my roommate – a major revamping of the apartment.

That last – the revamping of the apartment – actually borders on stuff that is the provence of this journal. I have gotten rid of about two-thirds of my record collection, and about one-third of my books. At the same time, the last few weeks have been occupied by boxing books (27 boxes), so we could get rid of an entertainment center and two of the old bookcases and get in ten new-to-us bookcases. Our acquisitions were from the IKEA Billy line: A corner unit, two glass-fronted bookcases, two wooden-fronted narrow cupboards, two narrow open bookcases, and three standard open bookcases. This was successfully done, although there were a few times that stress levels for all three of us were running pretty high. We are now unboxing the books (two more boxes to go), and trying to organize the bookshelves in some kind of reasonable order. My friend Lisa likes books organized by subject; my roommate is a former librarian who likes her books in alphabetical order within subjects; my preference is alphabetical by authors. We are using my roommate’s preference to organize things since that pleases all concerned.

The other thing is that I now have organized all the books that I was sent to review, and shall be starting to work my way through them shortly so you can expect a good number of book reviews for the next while.

The other thing I have taken on, relevant to this particular blog, are two reading challenges. I exceeded my goal for last year’s Goodreads Challenge, reading 223 books – 23 books over my goal of 200 books for the year. This year, I have raised my goal for that challenge to 250 books.

I have also taken on Read Harder’s 2018 challenge (and I shall incorporate those books into my total for the year). This is a challenge sponsored by Book Riot which consists of the following 24 tasks:

1) A book published posthumously
2) A book of true crime
3) A classic of genre fiction
4) A comic written and illustrated by the same person
5) A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa)
6) A book about nature
7) A western
8) A comic written or illustrated by a person of color
9) A book of colonial or postcolonial literature
10) A romance novel by or about a person of color
11) A children’s classic published before 1980
12) A celebrity memoir
13) An Oprah Book Club selection
14) A book of social science
15) A one-sitting book
16) The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle-grade series
17) A sci-fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author
18) A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image
19) A book of genre fiction in translation
20) A book with a cover you hate
21) A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author
22) An essay anthology
23) A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
24) An assigned book you hated (or never finished)

I will keep folks here updated on my progress with this list.

Thanks to my friend Debbie (aka mamadeb) I have become part of the planner community.Mind, I have had a love for planners for as long as I can remember. I can even say that I was doing a form of bullet journaling long before it became a Thing. I have, for decades, put a Table of Contents (ToC) in the back of every journal, so that I could find things again. It was a very simple thing: I numbered my journal’s pages, then did a three columnrule for the last six sides (three pages) of my journal. The columns were “Date,” “Page,” and “Item.” And I always used my journal for listing tasks, tracking things, and taking notes, as well as the usual diary entries.

One thing I do want to work on this year in my planning is doing better granular work, that is, improving my skill in breaking down large goals into smaller pieces that can be done as a progression, rather than trying to do an overwhelming task all at once. We will see how that tuens out over the course of the year.

So, no real resolutions, but a number of commitments and things to work on. I hope you enjoy the ride if you come along with me.

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Oh, no, not more books! (said with a groan)

Like most of the folks I know, I live with a lot of books. In fact, like most of the people I know, I have many more books than I have shelf space for. In further fact, it’s worse than that because my roommate, a retired telephone reference librarian, has almost as many books as I do.

We are in the process of digging out the living room (a long story talked about in a different blog).  And this means, in part, unpacking the books and getting them up on shelves, getting rid of books we don’t want any more (although that will mostly happen after the party), and otherwise dealing with books accumulated by two people who lived alone for most of their adult lives.  We have gotten the majority of the books on the shelves we do have, although we have several more boxes of books in one of the closets that will eventually need to be dealt with.

The roomie is having more trouble with this process than I am — she was putting it off until she could go through each box, organize the books, get boxes for the books she doesn’t want any more…and this has been happening for at least the eight years I have lived here.  We had a long talk this morning, and she has no idea why she was resistant to getting the last boxes of her books dealt with.

I had been putting things off, too, to be honest.  I had all my excuses:  my health, no place to use as a workspace to sort stuff; the eternal not enough shelf space.  But I have finally been making an effort.  There are still storage boxes (mostly with clothing) shoved against one wall, but the boxes of books (and records ([remember them?]) have been handled — at least the visible ones.

And my habits have changed over the years.  These days, if I want to read something, I generally borrow it from the library…although the occasional used bookstore trip happens.

I still have major sorting to do.  The cookbooks will stay, as will the craft books, as will anything that has been autographed to me.  Some of the classics will stay, and reference books, and books I reread on a regular basis.  But the majority of fiction will be tossed — or, if waiting to be read, read and tossed.  Yeah, it would be nice to put things on eBay or Listia, or even Freecycle, but fior my books I’m not sure it’s worth the time and effort.

The roomie and I have just decided to start a “Free Books” box, which we will eventually keep near the door so that friends can get first dibs on books we no longer want (Thanks, Thom and Tom, for the idea).

At any rate, we are figuring out ways to deal with the books we have, and how to create space for books we will acquire in future (no use pretending we won’t — we are readers).

So, let me ask:  How do you deal with the overflow of books?  How do you handle books you no longer want?

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