looking at my life, looking at my choices
It's not just that it's hard physical labor which is always more work and more complications than I remember being involved, and it's not just that it causes newly unshelved books to spill onto every single surface, and it's not just that organizing suddenly causes me to lose the ability to read the alphabet correctly so that I think everything is going perfectly well until I notice I put Brust after Bujold. That is all par for the course, and I have worked in libraries before, and that is just how these things go.
It is that my years of picking up books at garage sales and used stores and my heavy dependence on libraries as a child and to this day means that every single time I organize the books, I cannot believe what I actually turn out to own. Or not own. It is really vaguely traumatic.
I mean, we've been starting towards having kids for a while now, and if we had a kid right now I would feel that kid had the perfect right to be kind of pissy about things, because not only do I own three entire novels by Piers Anthony (relics of a misspent youth), but we own the first two books of Lloyd Alexander's Westmark trilogy (but not the third) and the last two of the Prydain Chronicles (but not the beginning). That is just... I mean. That is not a position you put a person dependent on your bookcases in, is what I am saying.
So every time I organize the books I wind up making a list, with a heading entitled something like 'THIS IS STUPID', and then when I do have some money kicking around I go out and buy, say, the collected sonnets of H.P. Lovecraft, which is not a life decision I regret as some of them are very good and some are hilariously terrible, but.
When I look at my bookshelves in depth I end up feeling that I am both rather scatterbrained and terrible at filing, and also that we need about a third more books, by number, than we already have for things to even begin to make any sense, and where would we put them? And yet it would still be parting with the teenage moment of revelation about just how terrible Piers Anthony is, if I were to get rid of those three damn Piers Anthonys, which is at least six inches of shelf space right there.
Possibly I should just never organize anything. I am sure that would be the most efficient way to go about it.
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