Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Library in my House

Today, I was trying to clean up a "problem room" in my house. Often known as "the back porch," "out back" or simply "the back room," it's been a trouble spot ever since the day I opened its sliding door to move my stuff in. Four years on, I feel like it's never really gotten set up. There are two bookshelves back there, along with a whole lot of other random crap. One large thing back there made its exit this weekend, when we gave our old television to my future sister-in-law and her husband (previously it had been in the middle of the floor).

Mr. Library Diva's Halo-playing chased me back there with my book about the Vikings, and I started looking around. I decided that if I could get rid of the "overflow" books stacked on top of the bookshelves and on the floor, it would go a long way towards making the room feel more like a room and less like the place where things we don't know what else to do with dwell. Since I'm not working in the field right now, I took all of my museum reference books off the shelves to put in a box until things change. It's odds-on that I won't be looking up how to write exhibit labels or searching for ideas on where to put an accession number on a sofa in my day-to-day life. That freed up significant space on my shelves, since those are big books.

It also made me really look at everything on my shelves. With shame. There are quite a few books I've never read, good books by authors I like. I decided that my new year's resolution will be to make decisions one way or the other on them. I've had some for so long that I'm ashamed to feature them in a TBR list on this blog again. Here are some others, though:

Children of Henry VIII, by Alison Weir. This was one of those strange choices, where I saw someone reading it at a Renaissance Festival that my old, terrible job hosted. For some reason, it got into my blood. I had to have it. I didn't want to read anything else. It wasn't at the library, so I bought it. I think I made it to page 4, but having just finished a book about Elizabeth I, maybe the time is ripe to revisit it.

Crystal Beach: The Good Old Days, by Erno Rossi. This was a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. Crystal Beach was an amazing old amusement park that got torn down to make way for condos when I was 13. From time to time, I still visit it in my dreams. I'm not the only one. It's spawned a minor cottage industry in Western New York. Someone purchased the recipie for the suckers they used to make, and several places claim to sell Crystal Beach-style waffles and loganberry. Of course, there are also books. I think I have them all, but have yet to read this one.

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. When she's good, she's very very good. When she's bad...I don't want to say she's horrible, but I've read some of her books that were absolutely forgettable. I guess this one never much appealed to me, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

Bushwhacked by Molly Ivins. I bought this ages after it came out. I love Molly Ivins but wasn't really in a political mood when I picked it up. I put it on a shelf and it's stayed there ever since.

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens. Bought it over the summer after finishing "David Copperfield." I decided to start with "Our Mutual Friend" instead, but didn't get far, and didn't pick this one up either.

Collected stories by Carson McCullers. I got it during the Borders closing orgy. I love her writing style, though, and don't think this one will linger unread too much longer.

Dracula by Bram Stoker. I tried it once before. I'm not sure if knowing the plot will work against me or not.

Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. I got it at the American Association of University Women's book sale this year. I've had a longstanding interest, and vaguely planned it as a winter project.

Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut. Growing up, I always looked forward to our library's biannual book sale. You could get tons of books very inexpensively, and my whole family pretty much just grabbed. I got this during one of those. I do like Kurt Vonnegut, though, so I really should get this one read.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. A few years ago, my dad asked me to go through a big box of books, take what I wanted, and bring the rest to the library for the aforementioned book sale. This is one of my rescues. He's a good writer, and I enjoyed his book about Mormons a lot.

Front Row at the White House by Helen Thomas. Another resuce, and one that I might enjoy more now that I'm working in the field, albeit at the lower end of it.

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. I like learning about the space program, and actually didn't even realize I had this book.

Often, reviewing my shelves doesn't turn up anything unread that I still have a strong desire to read, but today was different. Rather than go to the library when I finish my Viking book, I'm going to pick up one of these.