Tuesday, January 30, 2018

State of the Bookshelf

It's January 30th, and I'm happy to report that the state of my bookshelf is strong.  The solid wooden shelves, built by an excellent craftsman, are not sagging, and with continued rearranging and occasional culling, the shelf as a whole should remain viable for some time.  I'm still upset that the books aren't organized in the precise way I once had them at a previous place I lived - an order I knew and which made finding books simple - but after that, the books went into boxes and storage (for years), and then when I took them out again to put them on this new shelf, I didn't have the time to reorganize everything the way I wanted.  Since then, with work and family life, I never have gotten the chance to restore them to their previous orderly beauty.  New books get added here or there among the others.  It bugs me a little, but what else can I do?  I have sections ordered as I like, but most of the books are thrown together without regard to author name, genre, or classification (non-fiction, history, biography, etc.).  I'll get there, though, to the order I crave; each week, each month, I snatch a few minutes to work toward that goal.  But disordered or not, it's just great to have all my books back with me again, and there are few more comforting feelings than coming home from the nonsense outside - work, failing subways, and whatever other unpleasantness - closing the house door and seeing those books.  Or after an hour or two of watching CNN at night, which I do fairly often, I'll admit, feeling compelled to take in the spectacle, the country's spasms, I'll come upstairs to my books.  Late at night, when everyone else in the house is asleep, I'll flip through pages, browse at random. I'll take a book down from the shelf, read a passage or two, and put it back. Use Play as It Lays as a model.  How did Djuna Barnes write like that? Damn, Thomas Berger is funny. It's amazing how well the Martin Beck series holds up.  

The bookshelf.  It summons me.  I come.  And I'm glad, very glad, on this 30th of January, 2018, that the state of its health is strong.

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