Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
Books are a collecting weakness of many people. I know that in my early 20s I dreamed of having a library – ideally one with a rolling ladder. Then I moved every year for four or five years and put that foolish idea behind me. Books are heavy!
I’ve been a library user my whole life. I remember when I was a girl going to a particularly library that kept the Nancy Drew novels separate from the rest of the books – heaven! And I have clear memories of Library Period in elementary school. Back then, I read biographies of famous females. Annie Oakley, Mary Todd Lincoln, Abigail Adams, Florence Nightingale, Amelia Earhart, Marie Curry – These were the ladies (along with my mother) who showed me what a smart, determined female could accomplish in this world. I even have a library card for the Wyoming, Iowa library (population: not a lot) where my extended family is based.
Why even buy books, especially new books? I’ve got to tell you, that’s a question that I reflect on frequently, as I am far from the only reader in my circle of friends and acquaintances. I am, however, one of the heaviest library users. I buy books, sometimes new and often used, for my daughters, especially the eldest one, because she is a voracious reader and reads and re-reads whatever is on her shelf. She has several series that she enjoys, and we have the whole sets of these (Ranger’s Apprentice, Gregor the Overlander, Harry Potter, Warrior Cats, Persey Jackson, etc.)
As for myself, the books I own fall into a couple of categories: medical (espeically diabetes), dictionaries and reference books, Spanish and German language books, gardening and the natural world, religion, and novels that I enjoyed enough that I wanted to own then and knew I would reread them. (Almost all of these were first read as library books, and I decided they were so terrific, I had to own them.) Dan has a lot of computer, science, and programming, which are stored in his office. These are tough because most of them cannot be checked out of the library and are fairly expensive because of their low print runs, but their usefulness passes quickly as technology rapidly changes. Dan tries to think hard before he makes a purchase. I think he’s only bought two books this year. (He also subscribes to a number of science magazines. These are passed to a science-minded friend when Dan is done. When the friend has read them, they go to the free magazine exchange shelf at the library.)
Nonetheless, whether you own lots of books or few, you undoubtedly own some, and there are various ways of storing them, which might be more and less useful to you.
First up is my system. I mentioned the various categories of books that I own above. They are stored, like with like, on the shelves. The left hand book shelf is all non-fiction. The right hand shelf is fiction. The bottom two shelves are the kids’ overflow books, primarily series, the third shelf is my books, and the top one is Dan’s small science fiction and fantasy collection. When I buy a book, it has to fit onto the shelf with its peers. If there isn’t room, then someone’s got to go. My system isn’t necessarily one in, one out, but there has to be room.
My friend Corinna has a beautiful and artistically decorated house that includes a shelf of books organized by color. I found this so fascinating that Simple Saturday’s post will be dedicates to what Corinna told me about the whys and hows of a color-coordinated organization system.
Alphbatically by author
From most to least liked (This was my eldest daughter’s idea, and she’s sure she could do it on her shelves. I know I could not on mine.)
Chronologically from childhood favorites to books on menopause and carrying for aging parents
Using Library Thing or other on-line software, although this is more geared to helping to keep track of what you own rather than how it is organized on the shelf.
A Kindle Instead?
Do not flame me! I don’t get Kindles. Ok, I know what they’re about (download lots of books, portable, easy to read screens, long battery life, some libraries now have Kindle downloads), but I don’t understand why they’re needed, except possibly by those who travel extensively and for long periods of time. Perhaps it’s because I don’t buy books to begin with, so buying them instantly on the Kindle is no advantage to me.
I wondered if e-readers were more eco-friendly than traditional books. I suspected not. Kindle owners claim that they just bought the Kindle and now they’re buying downloads. Yeah, but do you know how much energy goes into making one of those (and all the electronics we love)? I heard on NPR last week that half the energy involved in the World Wide Web is devoted to the making of the equipment. And I know that people will be replacing their Kindle every few years. Electronics come and go in fashion and utility, and Amazon is certainly invested in making a better Kindle so you’ll want to trade your old one in.
On the other hand, the manufacturing of paper is a dirty business, and books are heavy to ship. Turns out that there is no clear answer to this question, and if you want to read all about it, I recommend you explore the website Eco Libris.
My personal bottom line on a Kindle? Any tool that only does one thing is not as good as a tool that does sevearl things. I’d buy an iPad or similar devise. Tech Crunch outlines your choices.
My personal bottom line? Visit your local library and if you must own it, buy it used at your local book reseller or from Amazon.com.
Today’s Declutter Item
Since we are on the subject of books why not make today’s declutter item this ear mounted reading light. I never wake up in the middle of the night hankering for a good read. Usually it is the bathroom I’m needing and then I just go back to sleep. So I don’t really need this light cluttering up the bedside drawer. Off to the thrift store with you little light.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
Today I am grateful that my house is clean and tidy and all my other chores are out of the way, even the ironing. Now I can devote the next five days to enjoying my parents visit.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast