Sunday, November 29, 2009

Book nook.

The four walls of the dining room at Roseholme Cottage sport floor-to-ceiling shelving devoted to naught but my roommate's SciFi books, shelved alphabetically. She's posted a picture of the Aaa-Far wall.

I always shelved non-fiction by a rough Tamara Decimal System and shelved fiction by author, but Instead of arranging authors alphabetically, they were ordered by how likely I was to want to grab one of their books to re-read. Thus, Heinlein took up a couple shelves at eye level, while, say, Songs of a Distant Earth, some Jack L. Chalker books, and a Robotech serial novel I'd somehow picked up but never got around to trading in were down by the floor in the back row of a two-book-deep shelf.


(Arthur C. Clarke always annoyed me; someone who just can't wait to be subsumed into the Great Hive Mind and actually sees loss of the individual self as an improvement may be shaped more or less like me, but I would argue that speciation is underway.)

25 comments:

Brigid said...

That looks awesome.

I've just got the one wall of books. I tried categories - "western" "sci fi" "history" etc, then alphabetical, then the current "dewey decibal system" (when the shelves fall over with a loud boom from too many books I just put them back any old way).

Carteach0 said...

I am thinking of a move.... and racking my books in a new home is part of the deal. Only 500 lumps of dead tree at the moment... and how best to shelve them will come up. I am thinking they will insulate the outside wall of a two hundred year old bedroom very nicely. I like the look of a wall of books, all my own. It looks like adventure and knowledge and laughter and history.

Cossack in a Kilt said...

You know there are people out there who don't read for pleasure, edification or amusement? Ain't that sad?

aczarnowski said...

I missed the call of the hive mind in the Clarke stories I've read. I suppose in 2001, but that's more about the eventual omnipotence of the righteous man no?

The books in our place are definitely straining the second story floor joists. Someday I'll need get those shelves moved back across the structure instead of all along the same joist.

Brian J. said...

I moved at the end of September, but the books didn't arrive until the end of October (filling a PODS storage unit). We've added 4 bookshelves, bringing our total of 7' 5-shelf book cases to 18--and the new house has room for more (w00t!).

Unpacking is going slowly because I'm still trying to organize them as I go. I figure that effort has about another week left before to our regularly scheduled jumble.

BobG said...

You have to remember that Clarke was British; the collective thing seems more popular over there than here.
I met him once back in 1969 or 1970 when he was lecturing at the University of Utah where I was going to school; interesting guy.

Roberta X said...

aczarnowski: Childhood's End. And 2001, but End was his first definitive statement.

I'm trying to remember the title of his very Heinleinesque young-adult novel; that and Tales From The White Hart are among his betst work, IMO.

Roberta X said...

Islands In The Sky. Yet another book Mysteriously Missing from my library; I lose books every time I move. Grrr. Worse yet, it was my next pick for the "I'll read this if you'll read that" swap Tam and I were doing.

Marja said...

Beautiful.

If there isn't one yet (if there is and you know about it, please tell me) somebody should start a place where people will simply put up pictures of their libraries and bookshelves.

fast richard said...

Besides books I have a habit of saving old magazines. Who knows when I will need to find that pilot report comparing the Piper J-3 Cub with its predecesor the Taylor E-2? As for the picture idea, my collection of mismatched bookcases piled high with books, magazines, videotapes, DVDs, ammo boxes, camping equipment, Camera lenses, and dead computer hardrives is far from photogenic.

BryanP said...

I've got 10 bookcases of varying size around my home, and probably 80%+ of it is SF & fantasy of some sort or another. Yeah, another gun nut sf geek. Shocking I know.

Clarke gets a pass from me for The Nine Billion Names of God, but yeah, his social ideas were a bit out there.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

Moving from Alaska was so expensive, I gave almost everything away (cost less to replace than to ship). Which means I arrived with one duffel bag of clothing, one box of spices mailed, and ten boxes of books trickling in by media mail. Furniture is replaceable without a second thought. My favorite books, especially the out-of-print paperbacks? Those Must Be Kept.

I hope to build back up to a collection like yours! Any good used bookstores to recommend?

og said...

Clarke was a little nutty on the wetware end of science. The hardware end, on the other hand, he was pretty well on. This is probably what led him to have to leave the "civilized" world for Sri Lanka, where he was less likely to be arrested for smoking young sinhalese cock.

I carried on a brief correspondence with him towards the end of his life, and he really did believe all that hivemind crap, as well as his famous statement that "no individual human should ever be allowed to be armed with anything more formidable than a quarterstaff". Bag of hammers stupid. There's still a powerful lot of his work that displays his scientific brilliance, and his basic knowledge of a lot of the tech we take for granted today, since he was there for a great deal of its development. Look at the very first Ground Controlled Approach systems: Clark ran the prototype for the RAF in England. His explanation of the way communications changed the course of history ("How the world was one", Bantam Books, 1992)is probably going to end up being the reference standard. SF authors tend to have flaws, some more visible than others. I neither forgive nor forget them, but enjoy their work (or not) on it's own merits. Clarke is clearly no different.

TJP said...

If you've read Asimov's Foundation series to the end, it becomes pretty apparent that he'd bought into the population bomb. There he discusses the hive from without, what with all the "swarming".

There are trendy topics in leftist academe, it seems. That's probably why I suffered a painful experience with a chapter's worth of an author (of a recent sci-fi novel) describing just how ethnically Chinese was the main character, and I decided against proceeding further. To me, sci-fi was a lot more respectable when it was campy and involved things like Voozy, but managed to convey messages without making it apparent that the author's mind was damaged by the rigid conformity of PC.

wolfwalker said...

someone who just can't wait to be subsumed into the Great Hive Mind and actually sees loss of the individual self as an improvement may be shaped more or less like me, but I would argue that speciation is underway.

Win.

At last count I had about a thousand books in my apartment, and about half of them are SF/F. Childhood's End is not among them, because a) I consider the ending maximally dystopic and b) I hate dystopic stories only slightly less than I hate horror stories. (By way of context, there is no genre of fiction I hate more than horror.)

DirtCrashr said...

Og said what I was thinking - why else go to Ceylon (sic)? The coercive/collective human hive Dharma of the East is ffreakin' overwhelming - but it's still Maya, an illusion as always. It's not the answer.

mycrofth4 said...

I mentioned this to Brigid and Og during the deer safari last weekend. It sounds like spam so it might not make it past your filters.
My wife found a site (www.paperbackswap.com) that we've been using for a few years now. List books you want to give away, someone picks it, you pay postage to ship it to them and get 1 point. Pick a book you want from the site (even has waiting lists for stuff not available) and the owner will mail it to you. New books for price of postage.
We're both bookaholics and this site has save us a fortune.

mycrofth4 said...

and thanks for the PJ O'Rourke. I'll be sure to pass it on when I'm finished with it.

Atom Smasher said...

http://www.librarything.com/

Pretty cool.

Ian Argent said...

Dolphin Island wasn't too bad. Tales of the White Hert qualifies as bathtub reading when I want to relax.

I've read 2010 a couple of times, and 2001 once; likewise rendevous with rama. And that's about as much as I care to read - druther my druthers I'll reread Venus Equilateral or some Heinlein.

Justthisguy said...

I assume, of course, that Roberta has everything E.E. Smith wrote. And Piper. And Hal Clement. Clear ether, spacehounds!

Mike said...

The next time she leaves the house for a few hours, you should do this to her books:

http://www.colourlovers.com/blog/2008/01/25/organizing-bookshelves-by-color/

Michael Gilson said...

I've only read a little Clarke, mostly I didn't feel like looking for more although I didn't actively hate it. The ones I really liked were White Hart and Glide Path.

In ref book cases. If you expect to move consider these 1'x 2' stackable storage units they sell at box stores and home centers. The backing sheet is just cardboard but replacing that with a 1' x 2' piece of plywood or waferboard held on with glue and sheetrock screws doesn't add much to a pretty reasonable price and now your back cases can double as the packing cases for your books. Of course you should be sure to anchor them to studs if you are going to stack them past chest height.

Roberta X said...

Mike: Organize my books by color -- and survive unscathed? Odds aren't good.

Justthisguy: correct!

aczarnowski said...

If you've read Asimov's Foundation series to the end...

No thanks. I got into #3 and just couldn't stand getting jerked around anymore. There's leading the reader and then there's smacking them with a hammer and dragging them into another room and tying them down until the next smack. Maybe someday I'll get over that first impression and try again but I doubt it.

As for Clarke, interesting. I mostly know his work from short stories but do have a few of his longer things to get to. I'll be reading with a more critical eye.