merging and purging

April 14th, 2017 | Other Projects

In honor of National Library Week, which is almost over, here is a post about books. Hol and I have kept our books separate until now. But ten years in, it seemed time to organize, cull, and merge them. There were piles of books everywhere, and it was impossible to find anything. It was a big project. For the most part our libraries were very complementary—Hol has large swaths of botany, natural history, poetry, and Jung. I have more fiction, memoir, lit crit, and Freud. But there were a few points of overlap:

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In these cases, one of us had to give up a book. I had signed copies of Sarah Schulman’s Girls, Visions, and Everything, and Judith Katz’s Running Fiercely from a High, Thin Sound. Hol had a signed Howl. So we’re giving away the unsigned ones.

For some reason we had three Moosewoods between us. We kept the one with the most notes and food spatters in it. Neither of us could part with our Hero With a Thousand Faces, or A Room of One’s Own. Or The Brothers Karamazov. I never read it, but it’s my dad’s Modern Library edition. Hol read it, and can’t let go of those well-thumbed Penguin Classics pages.

There was one other interesting point of complementarity. I have a boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia that I got for Christmas when I was ten. Somewhere along the line I lost one book—The Last Battle. Bizarrely, Holly, owns one volume of the Chronicles of Narnia—The Last Battle. It’s a slightly later edition, but it fits neatly into the slipcase with the others. A complete set at last.

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6 Responses to “merging and purging”

  1. Glenn I says:

    I recently reread my childhood edition of the Narnia books — same edition as yours, Alison, complete with box. And the bindery glue failed as I read them. Although I enjoyed the books again — except for The Last Battle which I remembered finding disturbing and which I found at least as nasty this time through — I decided to relegate the loose pages to the recycle bin. I think C. S. Lewis writes well and has a fertile imagination, but I don’t think I will return to Narnia. I’m more of an Oz man …

  2. Looking at your book pictures here reminds me that we’re pretty much the same age — so many of the same books. Mine are in unwieldy stacks, though. That is so cool that you and Hol completed the Narnia set. And signed copies! I’ve got so many signed copies because I often ask my friends to sign when I buy their books, but they are scattered everywhere in the stacks. Also, signed Howl seems to be particularly exciting, although I loved that Judith Katz novel so much.

  3. Kathy Fraser says:

    I see a lot of overlap with my own shelves… and I’m in the midst of trying to rehome a stack or two to my local library as well. Some are just like old friends, though, and hard to part with. I remember that Joseph Campbell title from my first year at Marlboro (Holly!). I think a person’s bookshelves say a lot about their inner lives, and I appreciate the chance to glimpse your mutual tomes! The story of your (shared) Narnia set is just too karmic.

  4. Kate Lambert says:

    …. Hey, Alison, Welcome back from all of us denizens at the DTWOF blogosphere!!! 🙂 I live in the House I grew up, and recently came across a child’s book of rocks and minerals. I am a geologist, so I was intrigued. I opened the book, and the inscription from my parents was, “To Paul, our future geologist”. Paul is one of my older brothers.

  5. Kate Lambert says:

    … “I live in the House (where) I grew up”. Anyway, here is the link to an actual welcoming video to MOO U, where I work in Smallville. One of the speakers is our mayor, Usha Reddi, who was instrumental in adding the LGBT community to the Smallville human rights ordinance last year. Mayor Reddi will also host the Smallville Pride Parade this year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4RtPRJtU9A

  6. Kathy Fraser says:

    P.S. Got our mail this weekend: thanks for the signed copies of your books! Maddy was so touched she cried.

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