Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Farewell, My Lovelies: Pt. 1

A friend once told me that I was always either in the process of accessioning or deaccessioning: talking about all the new books or records that I had found, or complaining about the arduous and emotionally taxing labor of trying to weed the collection and sell items to make space. New York City is known for many things, and spacious apartments aren't one of them. 

I've hit the saturation point again, and have no shelf space (or closet space, or floor space) left. In the past, when this has occurred, I've diminished my book to collection to make space, only to regret decisions and buy the books back (often at a higher price and lower quality). This time, I'm trying something different. And, honestly, I should have done it years ago.

I've rented storage space.

Thankfully, it's within walking distance of my apartment. To prepare for the transition, I've bought paperback storage boxes. I'm alphabetizing each box, and inventorying them in a spreadsheet so I know what I have. I moved 500 books last weekend, and I have another 500 ready to go. And I'm just dealing with the vintage paperbacks for now. Trade pbs and hardcovers will come next.

Part of this process involves deciding what should stay and what should go. And even though it's not "go" for real—just down the street—it still distresses me. I'll expand upon this process in a later post.

The reason I'm writing about this here on the blog is that I've come to realize my book collection, which at first inspired this blog, has lately been hindering the blog. As I was sorting through books, I recognized titles that I bought 5, 10, and some close to15 years ago. Many I intended to write about. And I pass over them, I realize that one of the reasons I haven't written about them is that I acquired so many books I couldn't keep track of what I had. Finding a book, let alone choosing one, because such a chore that often I just got on the subway without a book and listened to my iPod, or fiddled with my phone. In the past, I was never without a book. Having so many goddamned books didn't speed up my reading, or make it more pleasurable; instead, it made reading stressful, slow, and laborious. And, as a result, the blog slowed to a crawl. Some years hardly a post at all.

And so, as I make decision what goes into storage, and what stays in the apartment, I actually feel a great weight lifted. I'm starting to make plans about what to read again. I still plan on reading every book that is going into storage, even though the rational part of my brain tells me that I don't have enough years left on this planet to do so, but it's the thought that counts, right?

And so, I must say, farewell, my lovelies, to many of my books. Not a long goodbye, mind you, because I'll see them soon. In a weird way, I'm looking forward to having a dedicated space for just my books. I just wish it were in my living space. For now, though, it's nice to know they'll have a home, and as a result more of them will actually get read.

In the next installment, I'll discuss making the decisions about what stays and what goes.

To be continued...


2 comments:

  1. Well...be careful as to the quality of your storage provider, and what might happen if the facility changes hands. I write from experience, compounded with moving from one state to another and not reuniting with my stored collection for a number of years.

    I know I'll not read everything I already have, but I enjoy the luxury of choice...the anxiety of my ridiculous bounty doesn't really bother me (though various crises around the house ruining some of the collection certainly has, and other necessary work as well has kept me from as much reading as I'd like).

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    1. I wish I had the luxury of keeping them all in my apartment. Over the years I've bought, then sold for space, then re-bought, then re-sold, ad nauseum.

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