I’m not particularly known for my organization or tidiness. I contend I am much better than I was in college, or pre-Green, but still not particularly organized. At least not on the surface. Scratch that surface a little bit and you find a woman who has her books separated into fiction: alphabetically shelved by author, poetry, anthologies etc. and non-fiction: history, memoirs, anthropology, biology, nature, physical science, politics, history, gender and women’s issues, travel, education and so it goes on. You get the picture. There are other aspects where my need to categorize runs rampant, yarn: by fiber and weight, fabric: by color and weight, and the fact that the spices and herbs cabinet are currently all mixed up is driving me absolutely batty.
Tonight, one set of bookshelves set up, tethered to the wall (have a toddler you’ll understand why) in the newly painted living room, I got to indulge my need for order and shelve the fiction books into their new location. It was bliss. Bliss to visit these old friends, to discover books half-read, books bought and not yet read, books that I wonder if rereading them now five, ten, twenty years on would make a difference in my perspective of them. I considered for about thirty seconds revising my book organizing to be all hip, modern and color coded like Lovely Design’s shelves. Then quickly dismissed it as absolutely beautiful, but not practical for us. I boxed a bunch of books that I’m sure I won’t miss and won’t revisit and finally allowed Green to add his books to the shelves on the understanding that the organization must be kept. This is funny, he is typically much more respectful of such order than I, but the bookshelves were mine. A place where I actually was successful at organization I feel unduly protective toward.
One of the most exquisite aspects of this process is finding the books that my mum has left on the bookshelves for me to read. Books that she has read in the same feverish manner that I consume books, while visiting us and then left for me to find at a later time. These books are like another form of communication between us. Separated by six thousand miles and yet in the late evening as I sort through and note this is a book to return to, a little hello from my mum.