One of my first posts on this blog was entitled Books as a Drug, in which I talked about bibliomania and my impulsive purchase of 81 Dragonlance novels. Well, four years later, I’ve doubled (or maybe even tripled) the number of books I own.
For me, buying books is intoxicating, and once they’re on my shelves, I feel great pride staring at their spines. Of course, reading them is the ultimate pleasure, but I enjoy everything about those bound stacks of paper.
I recently reorganized my shelves. I still haven’t gotten around to alphabetizing them—and I doubt I ever will. Instead, I ordered them by genre (mostly) and by what I’ve read and what I haven’t.
I thought I’d give you a little tour of my bookshelves.
From The Aeneid to Zola, some of the greatest classics sit on this shelf. I further organized the middle shelf to hold all my surrealist literature. Some of these books intimidate me (like Proust), but I hope to read them all.
Most subgenres of horror are represented here. You’ll find everything from mainstream big-name novels to smaller indie published books. This part of my library gets the most use, and in the last two years, 90% of what I read came from here.
Science Fiction & Fantasy
I’ve been dipping into my SFF section the last several years, mostly for nostalgia. But as I migrate from horror to weird fiction, I’m hoping to read more. When my teenage years ended, I got rid of my vast fantasy collection—something I’ve always regretted..
This is my shrine to bizarro fiction. Some of my favorite books of all time are on this shelf and a large portion of them are signed. No matter my interest in other genres, I always come back to bizarro.
Tie-Ins & Miscellany
My most recent shelf, this section is devoted to tie-in novels (Star Trek, Forgotten Realms), novels from my youth (Harry Potter, Horatio Hornblower, etc.) and other books that I just didn’t have a place for.
Here is my fabled Dragonlance collection (or at least most of it). As I’ve said before, cohesive spines send a trill of excitement through me. Each time I pass this shelf, I get tingles. I’m slowly making my way through them, having read 16 (out of 81) in the past four years.
This is my non-fiction bookshelf, which I keep in my study. Of all the books in my home, these receive the least attention. Still, there are many great references here, which in the past have helped and inspired me. (The Lucky Cat statues have granted me an inordinate amount of good fortune.)
Finally, here is where I keep my books on writing and my main references. You never know when you’ll need a Dictionary of Etymology. There have been multiple internet outages where I don’t have access to online resources, and this shelf has been invaluable.
There are three more boxes of books under my bed: a mix of gaming books, poetry, and drama, and anything else I don’t use often, as well as my comic book/graphic novel collection.
So how many of these books have I read? I would say two-thirds, but that depends on the shelf. Once I’ve filled these up, I’m pretty much out of room. I have trouble parting with books, but I try to give away one or two a month, deposited in Little Free Libraries.
One of my favorite novels, Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal, is about a wastepaper compactor who rescues the books he finds. Soon, his apartment is filled to the brim, the books threatening to crush him in his sleep. I see this as my future.
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