I’m serious. I’m moving in a couple months, going from a three-bedroom to a one-bedroom (with no garage). I’m not really worried about losing the square footage. Three years ago, when I moved from Idaho to Oregon, I only had a weekend to find a place, and the three bedroom was the best price, even though it was much bigger than I wanted. It was also outside of the area where I wanted to live.
The new place is situated in my target neighborhood, and the list of things it doesn’t have isn’t worth thinking about. But I’m going to have to take a hard look at my books (my precious books!). I don’t think there’s enough room for all the bookcases.
- In the ‘good’ bookcase (meaning double glass-fronted oak), are my favorite-author-signed books–GRRM, Dave Farland, Jim Butcher, Christopher Moore. A few series, mostly hardbacks and favorites from my childhood. Can’t touch those. Eight shelves of books there. Filled to overflow.
- There’s the other ‘good’ bookcase (oak, but an odd size and not glass-fronted). No adjustable shelves, so only ‘good’ (signed) paperbacks except on the bottom shelf (reserved for Asimov’s, F&SF, Galaxy’s Edge, and Locus. Overflowing.
- The third ‘good’ bookcase (oak, no glass) sits next to my reading chair. Half the size of small bookcase. Filled to beyond overflow. In fact, the overflow sits on a low table in front of the bookcase, with books piled as high as the bookcase itself. In four separate stacks, actually. This combined stacks and bookcase is my READ ME NOW stack.
- And then there’s a bookshelf in the closet under the stairs where the overflow from the READ ME NOW table goes when company comes over. I try to pretend this doesn’t exist, but it’s a four-foot-wide bookshelf that used to hold my tablecloths and napkins (I used to have a real problem collecting cute tablecloths and napkins, but not anymore). Now it’s overflowing with READ ME AFTER YOU READ THE STUFF OUT FRONT books.
- Upstairs, I have TWO glass-fronted double bookcases, each filled to overflowing with books. One is filled with fiction books I haven’t yet read, the other with writing books I haven’t yet read.
- I also have two half-high glass-fronted bookshelves stacked on top of each other, situated right next to my writing chair. The lower bookshelf is mostly office supplies, instruction manuals, and toner, but the upper bookshelf is my collection of ‘go to’ writing books. The ones I re-read all the time. Stuff by King, Bradbury, Brooks, Kress, and Snyder.
- Finally, there’s a six-foot by three-foot bookshelf in one of the bedrooms with all the books I’ve read that I want to keep. Most are paperback, but I’ve got a whole collection of Janet Evanovich, a few of the early Laurel K. Hamiltons, Guy Gavriel Kay, Robert McCammon, John D. MacDonald, Dan Simmons, Dean Koontz, Elizabeth George. I tell myself I’m keeping them to study their techniques and pacing, but honestly, I love these books.
So how do I decide which books to get rid of?
I certainly can’t give away the books I love. I just can’t do that. I reread MacDonald every year or two. And Obsidian Butterfly is probably the best urban fantasy I’ve ever read. And I can’t possibly part with my GRRM books–they’re all signed!
The books I haven’t read? But how can I know which ones, if I haven’t read them? Maybe some of the writing books could go–but what if one of them has the exact THING I NEED TO KNOW to be a bestselling author?
Hoo-boy. This isn’t going to be easy.