asher63 (asher63) wrote,

The Books

My parents were book fanatics. Bibliophiles. We never threw out books. We had books in every room of the house, except the bathroom. (They must have intuited that there is something disrespectful about taking a book into the bathroom.) Both secular intellectuals, my parents treated every book as if it were the Bible.

I'm the same way. It's almost impossible for me to throw out or recycle a book. (Although I have, under great duress, occasionally been forced to do it. It was excuciating.) When my parents passed on, I inherited the house and their personal belongings, including their book collection. I've managed to keep most of it, or at least a large portion. These include some of my Dad's books from his days at Wesleyan University (where he earned his MA) and my Mom's books of poetry and Russian literature in translation. Among the books from my mother's collection are several titles that she had as a young adult - I know this because the same volumes are pictured in an old photo of the bookshelves in Mom's first apartment.

I have an odd fetish for organizing my books by Library of Congress number. (This fact has provided at least one person with the grist for amusing anecdotes; apparently that was the only thing she got out of our relationship.) Occasionally I'll lie awake and wonder what would happen if I threw caution to the wind and arranged my books in some completely different fashion ... say, Dewey Decimal.

But no. It's gotta be LC, with my "General Works" books (and Mom's) under A, religion in the B's, history under E and F, language and literature under P (lots of those), followed by Q for my science books. So right now I know I can look up and see Starhawk's "Spiral Dance" on the top shelf (BF), right near "A Woman's Kabbalah" by Vivianne Crowley. Middle shelf: end of the P's, with a sci-fi anthology and a collection of lesbian erotica, followed by my Life Science Library books and "The Emperor's New Mind" by Roger Penrose - general science, Q. Bottom shelf: the rest of the Q's, like QA (mathematics) - the Mathematica book and CRC Math Tables; QB (astronomy) with Janna Levin's "How the Universe Got Its Spots" and, from my childhood, Fred Hoyle's "Astronomy" and Harlow Shapley's "Of Stars and Men"; and then QC (physics) with more Penrose, and some of my PSU textbooks (Beiser and Serway/Moyer/Moses).

If only the rest of my life were this orderly.
Tags: books, geekery, life

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