To lend or not to lend Tuesday, May 8 2012 

Being an avid book reader can have its problems. Not only does it lead to too-full bookshelves (my apartment is currently housing 561 books), but it can also lead to lending anxiety. Lending anxiety is a term I have only recently coined. And it stems from the suffering one feels after loaning out a book.

I love my books. While I do love sharing my loves, so that others could love them too, it leads to an anguish that only comes with waiting for the book to arrive back in hand. And it isn’t until I see those books back in my hand that I feel totally better.

It’s obviously all in my head (then again, what isn’t?). But, I still get an empty feeling when I see that gap on my bookshelf. I like seeing all the books lined up perfectly on my bookshelf. So much so, that as you know, I’ve even organized my bookshelf by theme and then by author. And if you don’t know, then, I had, for a while, just placed (though it felt like dumped, to me) them all on my shelves, in no particular order. I kept my shelves this way until I had time to organize it, which went from waiting a few months to a few years. And this disorderly conduct, as I have dubbed it, drove me absolutely nuts.

And so you can imagine my chagrin, when I see an empty space on my shelf. Something that had troubled me for so long, and had been fixed only so recently, is still having its peace and stability threatened by the mere idea of an empty space. And this disappointment is only doubled when you think about how this book might never return to you.

I’ve honestly thought about ordering this Personal Library Kit. Partly because it fits into my idea of eventually having my own library (more on that later) and because it means I can make sure that I always get my books back. At the same time, I hardly find myself send out my books, due to the reasons mentioned above, so I am not sure if this would be a worthwhile enterprise.

And though I do complain about the unease I feel when sharing a book, it does make me proud and happy when i find out that the person I loaned the book to thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s also a point of pleasure for me to discuss in detail the specific plot points we enjoyed, the ideas we shared, and the concepts we disagreed on. Discussing a book in length is one of my favorite things (cue Julie Andrews). So, really then, what is so wrong with sharing? Maybe I will buy one of those library kits.

The book shopper’s curse Sunday, May 8 2011 

(c) ginnerobot

Well sometime last month, I decided it was imperative that I finally get the task of organizing my bookshelf completed. I don’t know what possessed me to get it done now, after what must have been ages of clutter. And since I’m occasionally a bit of a glutton for punishment, I decided to add another task to my already enormous to-do list. Since I’d have to remove all my books and reorganize them, I’d decided I would also catalogue them (so to speak) on Goodreads (and also LivingSocial Books).

In doing so, I discovered that not only did I have close to 350 books, but also that I had over 150 books unread. How could this be possible? Truth be told, I did include some poetry and anthology books from my college years which I had not finished in their entirety, and did not feel like I could say I had finished them. Maybe I will change those in to having read as I had started them (and honestly, don’t know if I have a particular urge to read them). But the idea that I had so many books unread kind of frightened me, especially knowing that so many of these books have gone unread. And so I resolved (resolutions shouldn’t be a once a year thing) that I should read more instead of spending most of my time after work playing those facebook games (ugh way too many of them).

And now I find myself planning out which books should be read when, and in what order should I read them. And I also contemplate, should I in fact re-organize my bookcase and have it organized dewey decimal or library of congress style? I’m undecided at the moment, if I even want to go that far, but should have that figured out eventually. After all, as long as it’s organized in some way, I am very happy. And really, that’s all that matters.