I spent this morning cataloging my books -- the fiction anyway -- which is quite a daunting task considering the size of my fiction collection. I'm about 25% done: 2 out of 8 bookcases. After the fiction is entered in the database, then I need to tackle the books upstairs, the fantasy books in the study, and (whenever I get another bookcase or more shelf space [ha!]), the human sexuality and erotica currently hiding in boxes.
I don't know if this level of smug satisfaction I'm feeling is from the size of my library, my twisted enjoyment with data entry, my joy in the written word, a smattering of nostalgia as I handle each individual book (1) , or a combination of all of those plus some other factors I haven't quite verbalized yet. When I look at my books, or stand near the shelves, I feel grounded and secure. My books are my refuge. All I know is that my affection and need is difficult to explain to people who aren't bibliophiles.
There have been a few instances in the past several days when I've overheard conversations, or been in conversations, with People Who Don't Understand Books. One person used the word "purging" to talk about ridding their house of the excess books, like one would drown a litter of puppies or call an exterminator about carpenter ants.
I would sooner cut off my right arm.
I am certainly capable of throwing out a book, or putting it in a box for a future garage sale, but those are definite exceptions. They are either damaged (and I have another copy), or from a part of my life that no longer exists (2) . But throw out my LITERATURE!? Are you people crazy?!!
* * * * * * * *
(1) Especially the books from the college years. "Oh, Faulkner! I loved The Sound and the Fury from my first lit class with Dr. Griffin! And look at this, my Norton of James' The Turn of the Screw! and Wuthering Heights! Oh, I need to re-read all of these..."
(2) I've got a bunch of touchy-feely New Age books boxed up for a Future Garage Sale. I feel that they're no longer very relevant to me, so out they go.