Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And so...

And so I stopped the blog over a year and a half ago because my heart just wasn’t in it. I was a little heart broken over the closing of my store and some of the things that happened before, during and after the close and suddenly I was faced with the prospect of being out of world of books I so loved.

And so it took me a while not to get emotional for feeling so disconnected walking into a bookstore and not knowing the new titles or the new trends or the status of hot books. Often, I had to stop myself from the pavlovian response of straightening shelves and reworking displays and finding books for customers asking unknowing staff.

And so by June, as my emotions settling to level, shopping in a bookstore buying some books for my birthday didn’t feel quite so morose. I realized that I have always loved books, even before I worked in a bookstore, and can love them even if my life takes me to another place. I don’t need to work in a bookstore to be a book kook.

And so my mourning is over. Some friends have asked if I would write this blog again (thanks guys) and I will. I am going to make it a little more personal and a little more relevant (hopefully) but still keep books as the main, but not singular, inspiration.

And so, and so, and so - I begin again.

In the interim, I’ve been slowly cataloging my own books with a computer program called Delicious Library. The cool thing about this program is that it handles DVDs and CDs and video games as well as books and uses my iMac cam as a scanning device to read barcodes. It uses Amazon.com as a database which is useful for finding the older out of print titles I’ve accumulated.

As I said it’s slow going. I have a lot of books that survived the Fire I suffered in 2000 and although I’ve cleaned them several times, I stop to clean them yet again or deal with the problems of bugs and mold. According to The Care of Fine Books by Yale Librarian Jane Greenfield, you wrap them in parchment paper and tuck them in the freezer for a few days. I kept waiting for someone to ask for some ice and see books in the freezer and wonder if I have really gone off the deep end.

It got emotional to comb through the collection. I cheer to find old gems I forgot I owned, and saddened by the condition of some irreplaceable titles, signed first editions etc.

I pulled out a lot of sales receipts, some with their tops smoke gray from where they stuck out from the book during the Fire. When I bought a book I would often leave the receipt inside it to tell me when and where I bought it. I’ve gathered together 20 years worth of receipts and put them in a rectangular Cadbury’s biscuit tin that fits the size just right. The scary thing is how much heft the tin has now just from little scraps of paper. Yikes!

I’ve hit the 1,800 mark in the Library with a bookcase in the second bedroom left to do, and the books in the living room and in the kitchen and yes, the bathroom. I figure I’ll have close to 2,000 when I’m done cataloging and will never ever want to move again.

Hey, some people have drugs or cigarettes or booze. I have books.