Friday, September 23, 2011

Pipe dreams... coming true?

I.  Love.  Books.  Can't get enough of 'em (e-reader, you say?  No way, I keep it real, mothafucka).  I like to read while I walk, while I cook, while I listen to radio, while I watch TV, while I read other things, while I attempt to converse, while I'm falling asleep, while I play with my dog, while I write blog posts, pretty much while I do everything except drive.  Turns out reading while driving is a terrible idea, even if the book is Operating Motor Vehicles for Dummies.

Since I moved, my books have been in two four-foot high stacks of boxes.  In retrospect, it's an old house and maybe leaving several hundred pounds of books in a small area was a bad plan, but the floor still appears to be unbowed and solid.

Last Sunday, I decided I wanted to be able to look at all my books, which meant taking them out of boxes.  Some time ago, I had made the totally ridiculous statement "When I unpack all my books, I should organize them, too!"  Stupid.  When I packed my books up, I was like a headless chicken on speed, so they were not put in boxes with rhyme or reason or neatness.

But, there I was, just having watched a season of Breaking Bad, hanging out in my underwear, and staring at a pile of books on my floor.  I mean, at the very least, I wanted all the books by one author to be grouped together, right?  And maybe all my books on the rise and fall of colonialism in Africa should be grouped together, so that they don't start all kinds of pretentious conversations around my young adult sci-fi books and make them feel inferior?

Next thing I knew, I had stacks of books, by the first letter of the author's last name (fiction only), YA books, then non-fiction and graphic novels.  Halfway through, it looked like this:
Ryder: These stacks of books look unstable.  Wait, oh god, am I my own genre?  Will have I have to sleep  on the book shelf?  Am I just here so there can be some kind of black and white and read all over joke?

Books.  Everywhere.  I felt panicked and cornered.  I felt like Sisyphus.  I felt like maybe I should just move and leave everything except my shell-shocked dog for the next renter.  I felt like authors and all their thousands of damned words were out to get me.  But, I couldn't stop!  I didn't even have room to lie down and take a break... I had to finish.

What felt like hours later, I was starting to actually put books on shelves.  In order!  Relief and joy filled the house.

Ryder was excited that I made a space for him to sleep in once I put away the S's and R's.  Herding1 books  really took it out of him.
As I filled the shelves, and emptied the bedroom, I felt good about my accomplishments2.  But not so good that I actually made any effort to organize the non-fiction section.  No way, I threw those books all jumbled up on their own elitist shelf.

Now, my house looks like a place where a learned and intellectual adult lives.  This is a complete façade, but it impresses the visitors I could hypothetically have someday.

Based on my blog, my life is full of lies and the color orange.

1He did not actually herd them, I'm assuming mostly because he can't read enough to understand alphabetizing.  He did sniff each of them, lick some of them, and then very carefully did not knock them over, so we'll call that a win.
2Since the organization, I have bought 6 new books, and found two boxes that contain random, unsorted crap from my house... which inevitably includes tens of books.  I feel less good about my accomplishments because they feel less like accomplishments.3
3I will not have footnotes every post.4


  1. What.the.fuck. I wrote a post today that had that same line and link to the mothafucka comic. And it was also about exuberant reading.

    We are the same persoN!

    Also, I read that line as "I felt like syphilis," which was pretty fucking awesome.

  2. Haha, I'm not surprised that we both linked to that comic, especially since I jacked it from Elizabeth... ok, I'm a little surprised.

    I'm not going to lie, I wrote the line and then STILL read it as "I felt like syphilis" and though... meh, I'll leave it, it amuses me.

  3. I like the footnotes on footnotes. Clearly another David Foster Wallace here.

    Another funny one, Anna.