Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Library

I've been entering my books into a widget called LibraryThing, which I've added to this page (see over to the right). I've wanted to catalog my books for a long time, and this widget is perfect for doing that. Once they're entered, I can sort by name, date, author, subject, etc. Really nice for a bibliophile like me. Also, I can share my library with my family and internet friends!

The widget is entirely too simple to use (good), but my books are not so simple to find (bad). Simple enough when I enter a book I've bought from Amazon or Barnes & Noble in the past 10-15 years, but not so simple when I try to enter a copy of The Hobbit that I've had since 1975. There are a LOT of editions of that kind of book! I've done my best to stick to the correct copyright dates, but if some are fudged, I'm not worrying too much. I've picked the closest to my edition, trying not to give the impression I have a book that I don't. My trouble is that my books are from just about any source possible.

Some books I got from my parents' library. Mom is a voracious reader and always has been. That's what people did back in the 30s without TV and so on; they read. Dad, too, is a literate guy. He has a master's in English literature. Between the two of them, I grew up with mounds of books of all kinds of subjects, no holds barred actually. I read Louis L'Amour in between helpings of Shakespeare and Dickens. I read Corbett and Kipling and fell in love with India. I read Jonathan Bach and became a pop philosopher in my teens. I read Tolkien, of course. Even more influential, I read Heinlein! I read gardening memoirs for breakfast or Jane Eyre on the bus to and from school. I snuck out of bed at night to hide in my closet to read, read, read, novels of Pearl Buck and Hemingway and London, field guides of rocks and birds, poetry of Dickinson and D. Thomas (who remains my favorite poet), fantasy of Stewart, sci-fi of Asimov, satire of Swift, philosophy of Hegel, classics of Twain and older ones bound in red leather, even smut I found in a parking lot, anything! I devoured my elementary school library, then ate up the one in my high school, too.

I acquired quite a few books during my college years. The best part about college was that I got to read for class and there was a huuuuuge library right in my path to the student union!!! I read my textbooks like they were novels. It didn't matter whether it was physics, calculus, biochemistry or geology. They were words and sentences and paragraphs, and it was all interesting to me. I also pursued sci-fi more intensely in college. That's when I met Mr. Card and Ender. Nevertheless, Thorby was my first, and I won't ever forget that thrill.

Some of my books are from yard sales. Mom was once an avid garage-saler. Along with my grandma and my sister, the four of us spent Saturdays scrounging. Mom would buy boxes, literally, of books and then she would read through the boxes. When I finished a book and was looking around for my next prey, I could go in the living room where she kept a box near the couch and rummage until something caught my eye.

Of course, some of my books are from used bookstores. Nothing better than to sort through the racks of discarded treasures and find something like my copy of Petra by Iain Browning. Though as I said above, these books are sometimes old editions and now bothersome to enter in the LibraryThing. Wichita, unfortunately, isn't a great place for used bookstores. They run for a while, but nearly always fail. These days, I'm mostly an Amazon hound where I can buy used books for just as cheap. (I have four books en route. :P)

Please enjoy my listings. Every book I enter I have read and many I have studied or read more than once, sometimes more than twice. I can't get them all entered at once, naturally, but I'll be adding over time.


tawny said...

so this is your little home away from home then?

Morningangel said...

T'is, Lass, t'is one o' me places. :)