You are what you read

Every time I move, I end up sloughing off a few boxes of books.  After my husband helped me move a huge collection from my apartment to our new condo over ten years ago now, he declared that he was never doing that again and I needed to pare down in a big way.  I’ve since frequented the local library way more than clicking BUY on Amazon, but I still have my favorite books that I can’t bear to part with.

Before this past move, I donated about 50 books.  As I’ve slowly been unpacking boxes these past four months and arranging the bookshelves in our new office, I am sorting again.  I’ve sold some and I have large “to donate” stacks in the garage.  Now I get to arrange what remains.  I just love looking at my books, remembering where I was when I read it and what it meant to me.  They are comforting to me.  Notice that the favorites above are well-worn (and alphabetized…  I never said I wasn’t obsessive.  Yes, I had to alphabetize them just for the picture!).

Anyway, the point of this post is to solicit your advice.  On a slow work day a few years ago, I began compiling an Excel file listing every book I’ve ever read, excluding childhood titles.  I used Amazon’s recommendations and also Library Thing, a free online bookshelf which helps you create an inventory of your books.  It also takes one book and suggests others similar to it, which was very helpful since I’d read most of those too!

I came up with a list of about 700 titles, anywhere from Democracy Matters (Cornell West) to Due Considerations (John Updike) to Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell).  So the question of the day is: should I spend time updating the list to include what I’ve read since my daughter was born and said list went by the wayside??? Admittedly, it’s mostly parenting books and light fiction.  Of what value will this be for me? Could you see that it might be worthwhile to have such a list?

Addendum: Check out my new Books, Books, Books page above and let me know what you think.


6 thoughts on “You are what you read

  1. I may be the wrong person to give you GOOD advice — I am trained as a college reference librarian and am an inveteret list maker. Still you might enjoy having a list of the books you have read. I don’t have lists, but then a lot of what I read is not considered great literature! :-} and I tend to read books over again if I like them a lot. You might want to start now and not worry about the gap while you were busy with your little one. One doesn’t really have any more time when kids get older but it’s a different kind of time consuming. What might be really fun is to have your daughter compile a list of what she has read or had read to her. When she’s older she will love it. It could be a project you do together?
    btw, I have my books organized both by subject and then either alphabetical if it’s fiction or by how they look on the shelf, specially the ones with pretty spines. another compulsive!

    • Marilee,
      Thanks for the idea of a list for my daughter’s reading. Great idea. I would think it’d be fun to look back at something like that.
      And I appreciate that you took the pressure off me for backtracking and trying to come up with titles for my own list. I’ll just start again now.

  2. Rather than a list, why not make a note on you blog when you finish a book, tag it, and then later you can sort by it to see when and what you read? Plus, I’m sure your readers would be interested in what you’ve read and what you thought…

  3. I LOVE this post–the words and the wonderful wonderful photo. I keep a list of the books I read on my blog and in my contacts file. On your blog, you can just add another tab at the top for Reading List. I date mine by month. And the books on my shelves are alphabetized too : )

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