After ignoring Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for weeks on the bestseller list, I found it at my local library and immediately turned to the chapter on books. I never got past Kondo’s horror about having a client with “three large ceiling-height bookshelves full of books…” Having a personal library sounded luxurious to me – not cluttered.
But when my iPhone warned I had to eliminate some data to be able to download more, I examined my store of iBooks. Some had been preordered, and glistened with an orange tag. Others I could move to a cloudy “books read.” But many were samples of books I thought I might read someday, and a few I had actually purchased but never read. Perhaps I could apply Kondo’s technique here and unclutter my virtual bookshelf.
Of course, I could not follow her suggestion to place all the books on the floor, but I could use her categories to sort and possible delete a few. Sadly, all fell into the same category – “General.” Here are the books I always thought I’d read, but never did – now deleted.
- The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton
- Still Here by Lara Vapnyar
- Paradise Lodge by Nina Stubble
- The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown
- Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey
Have you read any? Did I miss anything by delegating them to the “cemetery of unread books”?
When I came across the ocean without my books and the shelves sat bare until the slow boat carrying them could catch up, anyone who came into my office would think I did not read. After a few weeks, a few new books spread scattered on a lonely shelf; it would be impossible not to keep getting books, but those that I had kept for many years were not there – and I missed them. When they finally arrived, I closed the door and got reacquainted – smoothing their covers, rereading the inscriptions, opening to worn bookmarked pages with passages I wanted to remember.
With the shelves stacked high with a wall of books, the room was warmer and friendlier. Now when anyone came in, they went to the shelves first to see what I read – sometimes, a familiar book started a conversation or a connection.
A room without books is like a body without a soul………..Cicero
Bruce Feiler tries to snoop on his friend’s bookshelf in his article for the New York Times, Snooping in the Age of eBook, surreptitiously trying to discover what his friend is like through what she likes to read. With electronic books replacing print on paper, snooping is not so easy – books are not on display but hidden inside a Kindle, Nook, or iPad. Reading Feiler’s article reminded me of the room that had no books for a while.
That room is gone now, and many of the books have been given away or donated to the library, but some remain in a smaller room on shorter shelves. If you could see them, you’d know that I keep them to remind me of who I am, what I dream, where I’ve been, and why I read. And, if you could snoop there, you’d know a little more about me.