Monday, September 18, 2006

A Library Of One's Own

A Library Of One's Own

Never one to ignore a bandwagon when I see one, I jumped aboard LibraryThing the moment I heard about it from Cat. Because if there is one thing I am anal about it is my books. I may live in organised chaos but one thing this does not apply to is my reading material.

My bookshelves are broken down into time periods, genres, authors and, in some cases, publishers. In this manner I know where to find every work of literature and every piece of criticism I own (writing guides? Purple basket under bottom shelf in bedroom. Pre-20th century novels? Bottom shelf on bookcase on landing. Travel guides? Second shelf on desk) I get some strange geeky glow just from looking at the beautiful spines of my silver twentieth century penguin classics or my Arden Shakespeares all arranged together. I find this perfectly normal and not at all weird. It's probably one of the things that will be cited when I'm diagnosed with OCD.

Given all of this, what could possibly be more fun than an online catalogue of all your books? I tell you I can think of very few things, and certainly nothing that you can do without the aid of a woo woo or two. Because a book catalogue is not just a list. Oh no. It's about peering into your soul. Because these books, they're what make you who you are. They're the ideas that have kept you awake, the emotions you've felt, the places you've been and the ones you will only ever go to through someone else's words. So to look into someone else's library is both humbling and rather special. And because we're all friends here, you can see mine.

Obviously I'm in this for the long haul - I'm not going to estimate how many books I've to add yet just because of the financial implications of how much money I spent in the second hand book department at Blackwells during my degree - but the cornerstones of my library are there. At the moment I'm restricting myself to books I currently own, thus it's not a guide to everything I've read, or all the authors I've enjoyed (or hated), just to the ones which are on my shelves or beside my bed (or on my tv in the case of one particularly unlucky new purchase). You probably won't be surprised at all the Woolf or Shakespeare but I probably should warn you about all the Sylvia Plath. I honestly didn't realise I'd accumulated so many. So don't be too disturbed about my hidden obsession.


Stephen said...

LibraryThing is great - I like the blog widget, too.

And like you I get immense pleasure from the stacks of books all over the house, and I do know where everything is...

Corinne said...

Well, I'm glad it's not just me who gets warm and fuzzy feelings from piles of books, Stephen. I think I may have to add DA's first widget though *rolls eyes*