Tuesday, October 11, 2005


At last we're getting round to putting up bookshelves and hundreds of books that I'd forgotten I owned have been dug out of cardboard boxes. It's so satisfying to put all the books by one author together on a shelf, all the travel guides side by side, all the journals in chronological order, all the dictionaries within easy reach, all the trashy novels in a psychedelic cluster. While I was at it, I thought I might as well create an online library too using LibraryThing | Catalog your books online, and while I was at that I thought I might as well add a little dooda on the side (swivel your eyes to the right and look below the Flickr badge, if you please) offering you a random selection from my extensive library. I'm not quite sure why I'm creating the online catalogue. Perhaps if my house burned down it would make the insurance claim easier? Or if I couldn't remember whether or not I owned a certain book and couldn't be bothered to go upstairs and look on the shelves, I could just do a quick search on my PowerBook without moving from my armchair. I've only catalogued a dozen or so books so far, there's still time to turn back. And by the way, this has nothing whatsoever to do with my latest paperback purchase: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (how am I ever going to find time to read that one?).

UPDATE: Actually, after Sarah's comment I have thought of another use for this catalogue. I'm going to chuck out or perhaps even sell a lot of these tatty old books and use the catalogue as a virtual library of the ones I let get away: all of the retentive pleasure with none of the smell and dust.



Sarah Mackenzie said...

I'll say it again - Me too! - Yes, I unpacked books from dusty cardboard boxes that I hadn't seen for ten years. I carefully and lovingly dusted them off and reorganised them into other boxes. Travel here. Novels there. And then I found myself thinking "I am never going to open one of these ever again. Why am I doing this?" Thing is although I love my books - and this sounds silly - I find that the smell of musty paper and the thought of the "usedness" albeit my own turns me off. Sadly I have to confess that I would rather go out and buy a whole heap of new ones. I'm a 3 for 1 girl :-(

PS Thanks for your shopping advice. We might be in Bordeaux tomorrow for a bit of panic buying (visitor coming - no spare cups, no stick of furniture). Not the best time to call you and meet up.

Deborah said...

I'd like to catalogue all my husband's car books and documents but on a French site .... or should I just download some sort of library archive system ....

At the moment up to my neck in car spare parts ... perhaps there is a catalog your spare parts online .... or should I gaily turf them out like Helen Hanff and her old books

There is a second hand book shop near me in rue Fondaud├Ęge ... not sure if he was already there before you left, Lesley. I'm looking for a Spanish grammar ed. Bordas even though we have plenty of Spanish grammar books in this house already.

L'Oiseau said...

Book organisation is one of the most satisfying things in the world. I hate dust on other areas of the house, but the dust that comes off unpacked books attaches memory. Or the sand that falls out the pages, receipts and leaflets used as bookmarks. I couldn't care less about the order of my CDs, but the wall to wall bookshelves are very precise. One of the most terrible trends I read in interior decor mags recently is organisation by 'colour' of the book. Do these people not read??