04 September 2009

The Library

No, not the public one that smells like hobos, though that one is awesome, too.

I mean your personal library. The one you have in your bedroom, or your living room, or, like me, in your office.

A person's library says a lot about them. Some people don't even have them, and that makes Neil Gaiman sad.

Why do you want to make Neil Gaiman sad?

What you have in your library, or, in my case, what you have room to display in your library, is pretty much a visual representation of yourself. Your interests, your hobbies, your deepest, darkest secrets are there, for all the world to see.

If only they could decipher it.

Mine is spread across seven bookshelves of varying size and description. This includes one shelf devoted entirely to The Weenit's books, granted, but I don't mind, as seeing her purple fuzzy Dora chair permanently sitting next to a shelf filled with her books makes me happier than I can adequately describe.

The rest are mine. Well, mine and the wife's, but mostly mine. I am shamed to admit that there are several shelves that are double-stacked*, which annoys the shit out of me, but there's no room, otherwise.

The two main shelves are about as tall as I am, containing five and six shelves. They are narrow, but that just means they fit in the room better. One one (the six-shelfer) I have the majority of my fiction, loosely categorized by genre and alphabetized by author's last name. The bottom shelf and a half is devoted to anthologies (Grimm's fairy tales, Norton Anthology textbooks from university, collected works of various people, etc...). The second is for non-fiction, categorized by topic (psychology, biology, history, occult {yes, this is non-fiction}, biographies, war, etc....). The remaining shelves hold, mostly, pocketbooks. Though my Robert Jordan set (almost entirely in hardcover, I'm working on the rest) is proudly on display. These shelves are the smaller ones, limited to two or three shelves each.

Now, the reason I'm describing this.... well, I'm not really sure. My fingers were itchy, and I needed to type something, to be honest.

When somebody looks at these shelves, they can immediately discern a few things about me. One, I like to read. A lot. Two, and more importantly, in my mind, is that I don't really care what I am reading about. I like to read on just about any subject, and often sit down in the bathtub with a university textbook just to read it.

Just because.

I get a lot of weird looks when I tell people that.

Regardless, what I'm getting at is this. You need to read. A lot. And you shouldn't care what you're reading about. Unless, of course, you're working on a specific subject. But if you're stuck for ideas, and you're looking for inspiration, just reach out to your shelf, grab a random book, and start reading.

*Double-stacked is when you have a line of books at the back of the shelf, and a second line in front of these, blocking them from sight.

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