Saturday, August 15, 2009

Books everywhere

A couple of years ago I started cataloguing my books on LibraryThing, a web application for storing and sharing personal book lists. Despite my noble intentions, sorting through hundreds of books takes time, and I soon gave up.

Since then, the book situation in the house has improved somewhat, not so much because I stopped buying as many books as I used to, but mainly because I discovered that some of my book selves are wide enough to take two rows of books. The upside of this arrangement is that now there are no piles of books on the sitting room floor, or the kitchen table. The downside is that it's becoming harder to remember what books I've got, as I can no longer see them at a glance.

Feeling that I was dangerously close to losing the battle of the paperbacks (some would say I'd already lost it) (I know who you are) I went back to LibraryThing and and have spent the last two days building up my online library. I have so far catalogued about 90% of my books and this is that it looks like:

At this moment, there are (at least) 528 books in the house.

111 of these are travel books and language books (text books, phrasebooks, dictionaries etc.).

38 books are cookery or baking books. Pretty impressive considering I rarely cook.

My reading list numbers 130 books. This means that 35% of the non-reference books in the house are unread.

We need a bigger house.

Or a bookcase that takes over a whole wall. Something like this should do the trick.


Failing that, I need to start giving away any books I don't want/need to keep. So far, I have relegated 4 (four) books to the charity shop pile.

I have some way to go...

Subscribing to LibraryThing is free for up to 200 books. For those of us who can't say no to the printed word, a yearly subscription costs USD 10 (£6) or you can buy a lifetime subscription from USD 25 (£15).

18 comments:

Puss-in-Boots said...

I would be the same as you, Tinsie. But what I do now, is only keep reference books of interest to me, books that I will read again and books of special interest.

I use the library for my everyday reading, but as has happened lately, there are sales on with paperbacks at 5 for $25. Naturally I couldn't resist.

However, after I read them all, apart from one or two I've kept, the rest are recycled amongst neighbours and friends, who reciprocate, thus ensuring an ongoing supply of reading material without the horde of books.

lemon said...

Since 2 years ago I lived in Thessaloniki, in a bigger house, alone, so the amount of the books I had was not a problem.
Now I live in Athens, in a smaller house, with my boyfriend who (1)does not like the house to be filled with things and (2)thinks that we only have to have around only the books that we might need to read again, not the whole piles that we have ever read!

So,
(1) I gave many books to some bloggers who collected books for a women prison library,
(2) I bring some books every year to "aspri lexi", for the "free book bazaar" they hold,
(3) I will give some to the public library of my neighbourhood one of these days
(4) I ask my friends if they would like any (of the ones I do not want any more) and give them to them
(5) the rest, loved but not everyday needed, are left in my sisters home in Thessaloniki....

I miss them, I touch them every time I visit them ( a bit sick, but I do!) like scrooge mcduck touches his pounds!!
I still hope that one day I will have them all around me!

The conclusion is that I have managed, at last, to keep only the books I value really and get rid of all the others (not keep everything just because it is printed!!).

Sorry for the long comment, it is because of my excitement by your love of books too!

Tinsie said...

@ Puss-in-Boots: I like my books to be brand new when I read them, so joining a library doesn't really appeal. Over here most paperbacks are £3-4 to buy, and that is the problem - I can't resist buying new ones all the time, but I can't read fast enough to keep up!

I've become better (more ruthless) at recycling all the ones I don't want to keep, this is why almost 3/4 of the books I have in the house are either reference or waiting to be read. Still too many though!

@ Lemon: You are not alone... I've been known to store books in Greece - I take a few over every time I fly out and leave them there as I have more storage space. I do miss them though and wish I had a massive bookcase here so that I'd never have to part with any of my books!

Gattina said...

We collected a whole library over the years and they are all nicely in a bookshelf. Since at least 10 years I don't buy new books anymore, I buy them second hand, read them and that's it. The bookshelf you show here looks very practical !

exposemaximum said...

OMG ! what a collection !

Karen said...

We bought a new bookshelf last weekend. Eight gloriously new and shiny shelves, now jam-packed full of books. Eight more and they just may all have a home...

Karen said...

Does it occur to you that bloggers, by nature, are readers?? Everyone here seems to have the same problem..

Tinsie said...

@ Exposemaximum: Yeah... I wish I had the bookcase to go with it ;-)

@ Karen: I'm desperate for new bookshelves, but I don't think I can fit any more in the flat. Hence I'm making do with a virtual one.

I think you're right about bloggers being readers too!

Per Stromsjo said...

Ah, yes... piles on the kitchen table. A slightly embarrassing topic. Did you have to bring that up? ;)

And hey - there's always the library!

ShadowFalcon said...

I want one of those walls. I have a book addiction I think modern living should adjust for those of us who aspire to own libaries of our own

Tinsie said...

@ Per Stromsjo: What can I say? For years we ate dinner at the coffee table so that our books (and not just our cookery books) could have a home in the kitchen...

@ ShadowFalcon: I couldn't agree more! Where do I sign?

Betty C. said...

hello Tinsie! I'm back to Blogland after my summer break.

I use a site called Goodreads.com, which appears to be free. You might want to check it out.

I hope you've had a great summer!

Tinsie said...

Hey Betty, welcome back to Blogland! Thanks for the recommendation, I'll check it out :-)

Per Stromsjo said...

Noticed that you're reading Stieg Larsson at the moment. Always interesting when a Swedish writer reaches the bookstores abroad.

Embarrassingly, I've never read him myself so I'll do the second best thing and ask you. Do you like the book?

Tinsie said...

Very much so! I've read the first two books, and liked the second more than the first, so now I can't wait for the third one to come out (expected some time in autumn).

Per Stromsjo said...

What is it that you like about Stieg Larsson and his style of writing? Just being curious.

Tinsie said...

Interesting characters, well-told stories, lots of suspense. Both books are page-turners. The only thing I don't care much for is the amount of detail he sometimes goes into, otherwise I can't fault them.

You should read them :-)

Per Stromsjo said...

Thanks. Maybe I should in fact add his name to the list...