Last week I built bookshelves. Not really nice ones, but decent enough for a desperation job and the wall of the bedroom:
They’re more impressive in person, eight and a half feet long across most of one wall, holding all our fiction. That’s 25.5 linear feet, for those of you counting at home, in addition to the 85.5 linear feet we already had (not counting what’s in the Monkey’s room). And it is not nearly enough. There are boxes still in the attic, boxes and boxes. Books waiting to be loved again or, in the case of many of my books from graduate school, to be loved at all. A collection of Bloom County comics. A textbook on quantum mechanics.
But it’s good to have all the fiction in one place, with room for more. Looking at them I feel rich, almost. Also amused, as I frequently am, by the ironies of alphabetical order: That Miranda July came just after Portrait of a Lady until Heidi Julavits intervened, though that’s entertaining enough. Ayn Rand and Ann Rice are practically neighbors; how would they get along? Not well, I imagine, though Lestat does go on a bit in his monologues. The Phantom Tollboth (Juster) next to The Last Temptation of Christ (Kazantzakis); is there a message there, for those who play with a twisted librarian’s version of numerology? Tom Sawyer pals with Man Gone Down (which you should read, if you haven’t), appropriate perhaps in a way, but what on earth is Evelyn Waugh doing with Cherry Ames, Boarding School Nurse? I shudder to think.