One addiction? How about two?

As it’s still boring editing time over in writing land for me, here’s one of my other addictions. You’ve seen my pens, now behold my books!

I couldn’t get them all in one shot. That’s the view that greets you when you first walk into my library. Then, if we do a slow turn, we see the books closest to the window:

And then the books on the right:

There is usually a very comfy reading chair in the middle of the room, but we’ve been shuffling some furniture around lately, and it hasn’t made it’s way back yet.

And yes, those books are alphabetized by author’s name as well as separated into categories: Sci-fi/fantasy, other fiction, poetry/plays and comics/manga. My non-fiction bookshelf is in my office. There is also quite a bit of knick-knackery scattered around to break up the lines of books but also as a place-holder for expansion. I don’t usually like to put them in front of the books themselves, with a few exceptions:

My little cat from Japan wishes good fortune to Walt Whitman.

I bought my first novel (Meredith Ann Pierce‘s Birth of the Firebringer) when I was 10 and didn’t read it until I was 11. I was intimidated by the “size” which seems silly compared to the doorstops I read nowadays. But once I cracked it, I read it over and over and over. It remains one of my treasured childhood possessions:

I keep it in a little mylar bag usually. And I didn’t even know it was pt. 1 in a trilogy until I was in my twenties! Thank the universe for reprints!

I bought Firebringer from a book fair at my elementary school, and over the years, I’ve made bookstore buys, but more garage sale/library sale/used book store buys. Many of my books came from Hay-on-Wye in the UK, which is sort of a used-book-store town. My husband and I went there in 2003 on my birthday, and there was a shop full of $2 books. The. Entire. Store. Yeah, I considered leaving some of my clothes behind.

They had quite a few rare books for sale in Hay-on-Wye (one store was dedicated to nothing but!) but I don’t usually collect antiques or first editions or any kind of valuable books. If I have any old books (still reprints), it’s because they’ve fallen into my lap, like this 1923 copy of Conrand’s Chance and this 1932 copy of Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs:

The paper in these two (especially the Chance) feels really harsh, almost gritty. I don’t know if you can pick this up from the photo, but here’s the title page:

I’ve been to quite a few conferences and conventions, so a few of my books are signed. My first ever signed copy came from R.A. Salvatore (who writes great combat scenes) and I nearly fangirl squee’d when I met him. I blurted out, “I think you rock!” In return, this is what he wrote in my copy of The Thousand Orcs:

Heh. Usually, I’m lucky to get them to sign their names with a “To Barbara.” I never go for just a signature since I never plan to sell my books and will probably be buried with them in a giant casket, maybe a train car. The sweetest message I have is from Sharon Shinn on a copy of her first novel The Shapechanger’s Wife. She listened to me babble for five minutes about wanting to be published and then wrote this:

This one’s a little harder to read. It says, “To Barbara – I hope this book is a good luck charm as you sell your first book! -Sharon Shinn”. Squeeeeeee!

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for: a number. Guess how many books I have. And guess how I know how many books I have.

Give up?

Well, the answer to second questions is: I have a spreadsheet on my computer. Yes, I know that’s overly geeky. I’m putting it on my phone so when I go bargain-hunting, I don’t buy a copy of something I already have. Can’t I remember all my books? you ask. No way. Because I have upwards of 1500. (1542, to be precise.) And that’s not counting my comics (of which, admittedly, I don’t have many, probably 50 or so).

I know. Yowza. As a parting shot, here’s a book I bought based solely on the cover. To my happy surprise, it was excellent and introduced me to the brilliant C.J. Cherryh and began my collection of all things Michael Whelan, but that’s an addiction post for another day. ^_^

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8 thoughts on “One addiction? How about two?

  1. That’s a heck of an addiction, Barbara, but a beautiful library.

    I purged my library when I moved into this house. Moving 40 boxes of books will do that to you. Also, I hate to dust books I know I will never read again.

    Now I only keep books I cherish. Thank goodness e-books are everywhere now. I can read and move on and never have to dust again. –well, almost never. *g*

  2. Your library looks just like what I want mine to be!!! We have some mismatched shelves for my own 1400+ books, and a lot of the shelves are double stacked and two or three books deep. I once tried to organized them by LC numbers (for non-fiction) and genre/alphabetical (fiction), but there simply wasn’t enough space… one of these days… *wistful sigh*

    I keep my book catalogue on Librarything.com — I figure since it’s online, if my house burnt down or whatever and my computer got destroyed, I’d still have my inventory accessible for insurance purposes. Since, naturally, my books are the most important part of the house…

    Anyway… I salute you as a fellow bibliophile. And I envy your well-organized shelves and the room you’re able to dedicate to them. 🙂

  3. Wow, that’s a lot of books and a beautiful library.

    I’m not sure how many I have. The only real collection I own is the Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I have the complete set in paperback, all from the same publisher (so the covers are designed in the same style).

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