The final piece

I have had a plan to replace the bookshelves in the living room— now, if you’ll recall, in the room that used to be the dining room– with higher-quality, real wood, 7 foot bookshelves for literally as long as I’ve lived in this house, and 2022 has been the first year in a long time that wasn’t utter shit, so we finally have the money to invest in something that’s going to last: thus these four new shelves, which magically match the paint in the living room perfectly and are finally going to give my books some breathing room.

Goal for 2023: write shorter fucking sentences. Christ. At any rate in the last couple of months we’ve recarpeted, bought a new sectional, and now put in the new shelves, so the living room looks completely different. And much awesomer.

I’m not close to being done to shelving these– that’ll take a day or two at least, and there’s a bunch of books I need to find, as the old shelves didn’t exactly get moved in careful order– but that can be my project for the next couple of days. I’ll post again when they’re done.

That Lego set on the second shelf was one of my son’s gifts and it’s there because we’re guarding it from the cats until he’s done building it. I’m going to need to find cool bookends in the meantime; I don’t want these to end up covered in knickknacks but I also want to leave some space on all of them. That’ll be a fun Amazon/Etsy search, I think.

The typical assortment of end-of-year posts will start soon; I think the book I just finished is going to make it to the best-of list, though, so that one probably won’t be for a while. I find myself in the odd position of having not hit my reading goal for the year, so I need to finish two books at least before I can write anything about what I read this year. I’ll find something else to talk about in the meantime.

Meet Gideon

She’s been seen by a vet and more or less given a clean bill of health; she’s had an upset tummy for basically the whole time we’ve had her, so she’s got an antibiotic and they gave her a dewormer just for safety’s sake, but she’s negative for All the Scary Things and otherwise seems to be doing fine, so we’ve been slowly and carefully introducing her to the other cats this weekend. Jonesy appears to be fine with her so long as she’s not trying to eat his tail, which is about 60% of the time, and Sushi … well, Sushi is going to take a little bit longer to adjust, I think. 🙂

Why Gideon? It was my wife’s idea, providing a pleasing symmetry since I named Jonesy and the boy named Sushi; she’s named after the Gideon in Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth. The name is perhaps a bit overly grand at this point in her life (although “Giddykitty” and “Giddygirl” both roll off the tongue quite nicely) but I think she’ll grow into it. Reasons it works:

  • I feel like her Halloween colors insist on a spooky name. Gideon is a necromancer. Check.
  • Gideon is also a redhead. Check.
  • Gideon spends the entirety of her book wearing skull face paint. That prominent blaze on her face doesn’t really resemble a skull at all, but I feel like connecting a cat with prominent facial markings and a character who wears face paint works. Check.

In other news, my memory is clearly going and I’ll be a shell of a man in a couple of years. I have nearly a thousand books on my Goodreads “read” shelf, which I’ve only been maintaining since 2016, so estimating that I own in the neighborhood of 2500-3000 or so books is probably not an exaggeration. I need you to understand that I’m also not exaggerating when I tell you I can find most of them in no time at all. Like, I know what books I have and I know where they are. This is not something I screw up.

It was pointed out to me recently that Brandon Sanderson is from Utah, which is a state that I don’t have an author from yet. I used to be a big fan of Sanderson’s, but at some point I grew weary of him, and I haven’t read any of his books in forever, but I figured since the guy writes 20 books a year finding something new wouldn’t be that hard. The boy wanted to go to Barnes and Noble today, so I figured I’d just grab something. I even had a book in mind; he wrote a sequel trilogy to his Mistborn series some time ago and I never read it just because it came out after I’d entered my Over Sanderson period.

(To be clear, I don’t have anything really negative to say about the guy; I don’t have any evidence that he’s, like, a bad person or anything, but his books started getting really samey after a while and I bailed on him after noticing the serious problem with white savior complex that his Stormlight Archives series had. It’s not like a personal vendetta or anything.)

Anyway, I found the first book of the second Mistborn series, called The Alloy of Law, and grabbed a Jorge Luis Borges book (Argentina!) along with it for shits and giggles.

On the way out of the store, my wife says “Don’t you have that one already?” to me.

“No,” I said, “I never picked up the second series.” And then I proceeded to torture myself about it the entire way home. Whereupon I found out that I did have the damn thing already, and not even in a different edition that would have given me an excuse. I hadn’t finished the series, but I had started it. And, y’all, I don’t make that mistake, and I’m vastly irritated with myself.

I mean, I know it’s a solvable problem, because I just go back and swap it for another book, but … shit.

In which The Great Rearranging may be upon us

It is not outside the realm of possibility that I have too many books. I know, it’s unlikely, and I’m not 100% sure that “too many books” is actually a thing, but it’s possible. What is definitely true is that I don’t have enough room to arrange the books that I have properly.

I am currently faced with a week off from work, and because I am an American I am viewing this less as an opportunity to relax and more as an opportunity to “get things done,” because the possibility of going a week without working or “accomplishing things” is just beyond my ability to comprehend. And I find myself casting an eye upon these bookshelves, and their current state of overpopulation, and thinking about opportunities to give myself a job that I can complete half of and then ignore for a year.

If you look at the top shelf of the middle bookshelf there (the top shelf, not the books stacked on top of the bookshelf) you will get an idea of what I’m thinking, because I rearranged that one as a test. I’m wondering what I can do if I shift to mostly vertical stacking on the bookshelves, especially the books that are currently perched on top of the shelves themselves. In theory, so long as the shelves themselves hold up, I can stack those clear to the ceiling– and if I use only completed series for them, which I’m also thinking about, I can put things up there that aren’t going to be rearranged all that much.

Understand that that is only the top half of less than half of just the bookshelves that are against that one wall alone, if you want to understand the magnitude of this job I’m contemplating.

I dunno. If I think about it long enough, I can switch over to stressing about how I had a whole week to get it done and didn’t do it. That won’t be especially mentally healthy, but it would certainly be less work.

On my bookshelves

Mei-Mei asked in comments to the last post what I do with all of my books after I’m done reading, and it occurs to me that I don’t actually think I’ve done this post yet, somehow. Let’s take a tour of my house! Without cleaning it first, because … I really should have straightened the place up first. Oh well.

Also, yes, we only have one child.

We begin in “the back” of the house, the room that we have never really settled on a name for. This is technically a CD/DVD rack, and these are all paperbacks, and it needs dusting quite badly.

Same room, on the other side of the sliding glass door to the back porch.

Opposite wall, with Star Wars hardcovers, general fiction, comic books, Stephen King, and Brandon Sanderson, and also featuring my telescope and the boy’s home-made robot costume.

On to the living room!

Getting a good angle on this bookshelf is kind of tricky because of where it’s located. That top shelf will never contain books as it’s where I throw my wallet and my keys and various and sundry things I need to keep track of. The rest of it is basically all black history.

To the right behind the lamp is not a smaller bookshelf; that’s actually a piano.

These four bookshelves are on the wall behind the one you just saw, and are part of the reason it’s kind of tricky to get a good shot of that bookshelf. Subjects include religion, presidential history (the third shelf, left to right, the one with Thor and Hawkeye on top, has at least one book by or about every legitimately elected President of the United States, plus my Lincoln shelf,) education, and history and philosophy of science.

The next few pictures are all on the same wall, opposite this one:

Mostly fiction, with some history scattered here and there, especially on that very top part, along with comic books and role-playing games.

My leatherbounds and two shelves of mostly nonfiction, although the books that are stacked in front and not properly on the shelves are more likely to be fiction than not.

To the right of the TV, entirely fiction, plus the top shelf of Books By Me And People I Know. Also some overflow from the black history shelf.

On to the bedroom!

Fiction, a couple of shelves of my wife’s books, and yearbooks and photo albums. Top left is the (empty!!!!) unread shelf; note that the four books on the unread shelf are not part of the unread shelf. Two are ARCs that are due for a review in July sometime and so don’t count yet and two are eventually going to be moved to the People I Know/Indie Authors shelf and I just haven’t gotten around to it for some reason. Also, a litterbox.

In the office are several boxes full of my own books for whenever I’m able to go to a con again and exactly two shelves, one of hardback Star Wars books and one of generic fiction hardcovers that I didn’t have a better place to put. The shelf itself is in a corner and buried behind a bunch of stuff so I didn’t bother getting a picture of it.

Also, back in January I took, I think, six banker’s boxes of books into the basement, with the understanding that if by January of 2021 I hadn’t found a reason to go looking through them, I was going to donate them to someone. So this would have had probably another 100-120 books scattered throughout if I hadn’t done that.

I think I’ll spend my whole weekend cleaning now.

6:06 PM, Friday, June 12: 2,039,468 confirmed cases and 114,446 Americans dead. I keep almost doing a much more comprehensive “this is not going away” type of post with these numbers; perhaps I’ll do that this weekend, in between dusting every surface in the house.