Saturday, May 03, 2008

These Books

I've been cleaning up a room and reorganizing books, and I have a few scattered thoughts about these paper objects in my home.

--I've sometimes thought of taking some time to read all of the Introductions and Forewords and Afterwords of all the books I have. That would be an education in itself, right? All that context and history and biography and criticism. It would be a worthwhile experience, I think.

--I don't know why I was buying some of the books I bought between ages 17 and 22. I have no intention of ever reading many of them. Now I only buy books I could possibly ever want to read. Of course, someday I might look back at books I bought in the last year and say "What was I thinking?"

--If I had the space, I might organize books by...anything. Author. Subject. Whatever. Instead, I organize books by size and shape. That's the way to efficiently use space. And they're vertical or horizontal, wherever they can fit.


  1. when i browse my books..i also say..what was i thinking when i bought this? ah! and those things take up a lot of space.

    Reading intro, forewords and afterwords?? oOo..those are the parts of a book a dreaded most..especially the intro..sometimes the intro gives it all away and sometimes they are longer than the composition (the actual book w/o those things)!

  2. If I do decide to read the intros, I wouldn't read any intros to novels I haven't read yet. Reading the intros to short story collections, poetry collections, and non-fiction could be interesting, though.

  3. Reading intros of poetry collections can be especially interesting. I remember reading the introduction to a collection of Byron I picked up in a used bookstore and being astounded by how literate the author of the introduction was, and how clearly he explained the good and bad in Byron's work. I hadn't looked at the cover, so I didn't realize the introduction was by W.H. Auden until I reached the last page. Granted not every introduction is by Auden, or even by a well-known writer, but reading it I got great insight into two poets.