November 21, 2009

So, as the start of the next phase in relocating my office to the basement, the plan is to remodel both the office side and the living side of the basement.  Part of this means that there needs to be paneling put up over the cinder-block-and-plaster walls.  This also means that the bookshelves in the living section need to be emptied, and pulled away from the walls.  So, my phase is that I started moving the books.

I cannot believe how many of the books survived the move from our house in the Heights to out here. But apparently, my father was insistent that all of the books get packed up.

I am so glad that he got a barn that he can tinker in: it keeps him out of Goodwill and from buying nickel- and dime-priced paperback books from the ’60s and bringing them home.  There have to be hundreds upon hundreds of paperback novels alone.  Do not let me forget to mention the hardbound books, either: we have a copy of The Hunter’s Encyclopedia from 1968.

My father does not hunt.  He has never hunted.  We have no need for this book. Or tattered copies of diet books and encyclopedias from the 60s-80s; or travel guides for the Soviet Union (oh yes, I did not mis-type).

What frustrates me about it is that it’s just so much stuff that we have to dispose of.  And I’m not really excited about giving it back to Goodwill; I don’t want to try and sell useless copies of Agatha Christie novels on the internet; and even though they are useless, it seems pretty abhorrent to use them as fuel for the firepit.

It was certainly a testimony to getting a Kindle, or thinking twice about buying another object that gets used and just sits.  This is a huge reason why I love the library: first of all, free; second, I can figure out if I really want a book before I buy it.

It also speaks volumes about how amazing the interenet is for free information.  I certainly believe that guide manuals and books are extremely important to have in a hard copy if necessary.  But I also believe that if you’re just a lay person trying to get a snippet of information, the internet is going to be your new best friend.  Hell, even Wikipedia is a good jumping-off point.

(Aside: does it make me sad about the internet over books? Yes and no.  Books are irreplaceable, but my father’s avid “collecting” of books is testimony to how useful the digital age is for information.)

I’m not looking forward to the next steps of this project, which includes picking out which books need to get pitched, trying to find a book-recycling program, and re-assembling the bookshelves.