I gave myself a project; sort through the double stack of books on the dresser and the haphazard pile around the small bookshelf in the bedroom. That shelf is not double-shelved but it certainly could be.
I promised myself I wouldn’t get distracted, drawn away by any of the books I found. There would be three stacks; books for Mockingbird, books for Goodwill, and some I was going to throw away. Gasp! “Throw away?” you say. Yes. These would be Uncorrected Reader Proofs or Advanced Reader Copies (ARCS). Some of those I will give to Goodwill, but some ARCs are of very high quality to waste space on and I will recycle those.
Okay, here we go.
Oh, that gooey paranormal romance I picked up on vacation (thinking it was urban fantasy); not good enough for Mockingbird, but someone at Goodwill will like it. Codex, Kindred and Wings, The Diamond Deep… Goodwill. What Jane Austen Ate, What Charles Dickens Knew… wait, that’s a reference book. What’s it doing in here? Fourth pile, books that belong in the other room.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin. I should keep… no, I’m trying to clean up. Mockingbird. But I might want to reread it… no. Mockingbird. But it’s really good and I…No! Put it in the bag! I put it in the bag. I put the sequel in the bag too.
A recent Alex Delaware mystery by Jonathan Kellerman, in good shape. Mockingbird. Tam O’Shanter, a Scottish Poem, an old edition, illustrated. Why did I get this? Oh, right. I thought someone I’m going to see at Thanksgiving would like it. It goes in the fourth pile, books that belong in another room.
Don’t Breathe a Word, by Jennifer McMahon. Genuinely creepy supernatural thriller. Mockingbird… except I know we have two copies on the shelves already. Goodwill, but reluctantly.
Two Trudy Canavan hardcovers heavy enough to cause carpal tunnel injuries. I never made it past page 123. Goodwill.
I’m doing so well! I haven’t been distracted by any — oh, Wool, the Omnibus Edition! I thought I had this! I’ve only read the opening chapter. I’ll just…
But I’ve worked so hard. I need a break! And Hugh Howry is a genius.
No. No distractions.
Okay, so I won’t read it right now. Keeper though.
Neal Stephenson…that’s a keeper. Swamplandia! By Karen Russel, definitely a keeper. Iris Murdock, keeper; Book of Fire, well, I got it at Mockingbird and never opened it. Off to Goodwill.
A Gentleman of Fortune, a Regency mystery, is in the wrong room. This was a book I picked up for my mother in law. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson, keeper, because, well, Shirley Jackson. Hide Me Among the Graves, by Tim Powers; I haven’t read it yet. Keeper. Two books of diaries of women settlers, keepers, but they should go into reference.
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, keeper of course, except that I have a signed hardcover, and this is a paperback, so, Mockingbird, right? Only, I might not want to risk reading the hardcover, so isn’t this a reading copy? No. Put it in the bag. But just to be safe, I should probably keep…
No. Put the book in the bag.
I put the book in the bag.
It doesn’t sound like it, but I managed to fill two bags for Mockingbird and one for Goodwill. I threw away two Arcs. The double stacks are still double, but half as high. The bookshelf, well, there are piles, but it’s not a tripping hazard anymore.
The sad thing is that if you looked around the house you wouldn’t know any books were gone — or maybe that’s not a sad thing at all.