Collecting the written word

“Writers are magpies by nature, always collecting shiny things, storing them away and looking for connections of things.”~John Connolly, Irish writer

There is an interesting post over at Robert Zimmerman’s blog, A Life Among the Pages: paper books. That sounds like it should be obvious for a writer, but there is a twist to this topic.  His post is about storing books; in his case, storing 1905 of them as of that post.

The comments on his current post are mostly marvels of amazement at his amassed collection.  The storage discussion on his original post was much more vibrant.  Almost exactly 2 years ago, he only had to store about 1300 books.  Readers reinforce shelves to hold the weight.  Books are stacked 2-3 levels deep.  Storage facilities are purchased.  One voracious reader commented: “I  love how one can always tell a true book lover… they had to start placing the books horizontally at some point.”

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A smattering of my bookshelves

Given that criteria, I am a book lover.  However, I do not have enough of a collection to warrant excessive creative storage solutions.  There is a scattering of books and magazines on various desktops and nightstands.  My one tall bookcase overflows with paperbacks, a few hardbacks, some indie books written by author friends, my journals and a bunch of knickknacks.  My books are both horizontal and vertical, 2 rows deep at certain sections.  I refuse to have more levels because then I will never find my books. What that means is that I also have perhaps three or more boxes of books in the basement.  Those, I think, are books packed up from various moves that have never been unpacked, a collection of science fiction, fantasy, Star Trek and Star Wars, pre-teen Scholastic, humor cartoon and who knows what else.  That’s my storage system, and yes, I do miss the ones not on my shelf. I chose to make choices as to what is at my fingertips.

Why do I have the ones at my fingertips close by?  Are they sentimental?  Are they yet to be read?  Do I want to read them again?

I posed the question–or thought I had–about whether he re-read any of his books. With so many books, what is reading criteria?  Would you read them as they come in? Do you wait until you collect a complete series to start? Do you wait until you’re in a particular mood and reach for the “poetry” section?  Do you have a “Favorites” section that you go back to from time to time to take a break from the collecting?

I have my own philosophy on reading books….

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