Musings of a Reader: Friday Follies

I have a habit…maybe even a good habit…of keeping track of the books I’ve read, and when I read them.

I have it all on a spreadsheet, and whenever I finish a book, I stack it on the corner of my desk to be added to the appropriate Book List — Fiction or Non-Fiction, before I put it away.

And…once the stack gets to the point of tipping over, I update my spreadsheets. Then, I begin looking for places to store these books for “the next read.”

Now comes the “foible” that is the subject of today’s Friday’s Follies. I’ve got books crammed into every available bookshelf in the house…and I have quite a few…books and bookshelves. I also have a few locations…so far mostly out of the way locations…where I have books stacked because there’s no more room in the book shelves.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I’m a “collector”…of “stuff.” Books certainly fall into that category…and I am certainly a book “collector.” However, in my defense, I am also very much a book lover. I read my books more than once, and I bookmark places in books, both fiction and non-fiction that have a particularly interesting quote, or a meaningful phrase that I don’t want to forget.

Unfortunately, there are so many books, with so many bookmarks that I can’t remember which book to look in when something in particular comes to mind and I just know that I read something about it in one of my books…if only I could remember which one.

I promise myself…and my family…that I will quit collecting…that I will sort and donate. And so I begin.

I sort. I stack. I pile.

Then I get a box. As I begin to put a book into the box, however, I have another habit…perhaps not such a good one…of needing to make sure it’s a book I remember clearly having read, that it has no special “bookmark,” or just don’t have an interest in the topic anymore.

Whenever I open the book and start to scan it, I nearly always find I either just can’t remember reading it…or at least not what the major plot was, it has a special bookmark…or it has information that I suddenly remember is exactly on point for a topic I have been researching!

So…the books don’t end up in the box! As a result, keeping my library to a manageable level…just isn’t manageable.

I thought I had the solution. I got an electronic book for my birthday this year. It is wonderful…and I really do enjoy it. And I use it a lot.

However, I still like the feel of a “real” book. As a bibliophile, I really enjoy my books and I use them over and over. So far, I like the bookmarks in “real” books better than my bookmarks in my electronic book. They’re easier to see — I use colored post-its — and I can flip through them quickly.

On the electronic book, I can enter a topic for a search, but if I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, it doesn’t help me locate it.

I suppose if I really researched it, I have a few “real” books that are collector’s items that are worth a little money.

However, I like to think that all my books are here for a real purpose…besides just being an enjoyable experience…and that is that all the stories and information helps me understand the people around me.

And there just isn’t any amount of money to exchange for that.

Unless…of course…I really have read and absorbed every fascinating bit of information from that particular “collectible” book…in which case maybe a little money in exchange would help me purchase a few more books to collect.

You think?

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