Thursday, October 1, 2015
357 linear feet later . . .
(EDITED TO AMEND: Not 157 linear feet, as I said earlier, but 357! I'd forgotten many of my notes were in linear yards, not feet!)
When Miss D. and I moved to Tennessee five years ago, we brought with us a very large library. It consisted of books I'd boxed up and shipped from South Africa, the accumulation of the first 37 years of my life; what I'd gathered during my years as a pastor down in Louisiana; and what she brought from Alaska when she came down to first nurse, then marry me. Suffice it to say there were a lot of books. An awful lot - so much so that they had to stay boxed, because we didn't have room (or bookshelves) to unpack them all. Add to that what we both (mostly me) accumulated during the past five years, and things were clearly out of control. Something had to be done.
As part of the plan to bring our belongings under control, we deliberately chose to move into a relatively small duplex that didn't have a lot of free space. All our excess stuff (including most of our books, including all the boxes I hadn't yet unpacked after bringing them from Louisiana) went into a storage unit. Over time, relatively slowly, we unpacked boxes of books there, decided what to keep, packed up the surplus and drove it to a local used bookstore, then re-packed the 'good stuff' to bring here in due course.
Over the past few weeks, in between battling kidney stones and the after-effects of their treatment (both are equally bad, IMHO!), I got stuck into the last boxes. This afternoon I finished the final one. My library has now been reduced to 72 linear feet of bookshelves, tightly packed, and Miss D.'s is down to about ten linear feet in her own bookshelf. I've got to try to reduce mine a bit more, but that shouldn't be too hard, as I know there are duplicate volumes. As I start to sort the books into categories, then alphabetically by author, I'll get rid of the duplicates and free up the space they occupy. Other books will doubtless be turfed out as I reluctantly conclude that they're nice, but not essential. In particular, anything I can get in e-book format is likely to go.
My best estimate is that I've gotten rid of the equivalent of 275 linear feet of books. It's been a wrench, because to a bookworm the loss of any volume one's enjoyed is always painful. On the other hand, it's a vast relief to realize that the appallingly large stack of boxes of books is no more, and everything's (roughly) in its place.
And yes . . . my back hurts. After moving (sometimes repeatedly) 357 linear feet of books, it's got a right to hurt!