12 August 2008
One day, years ago, my friend's boyfriend came over to my apartment. I had liked this kid, and by the time he came around for a visit I knew him well enough to know that he was critical of everything. When he looked around apparently skeptical of my tastes, I wasn't surprised.
He heaved a large sigh and said, annoyed, "I thought you'd have more books."
I narrowed my eyes and glared at him in a way that suggested that he'd just bought himself a first class ticket on the Ex-Lovers' Express. "I am a very close acquaintance of the library," I sneered.
It should be noted that I only sneer when I am lying. While this visit did occur at about the same time as I was frequenting the library to read (and ogle) the Griffin and Sabine series, I was hardly depending on it for my reading materials. Truth be told, my personal library was not proportional to my love for books. For reasons I still can't quite put a finger on, I was a little sensitive about the subject.
Now, years later, I am more settled in Portland. That jerkwad boyfriend has been my friend's ex-boyfriend for many, many cycles of the moon. These days, I own more shelves, but I do not own many more books. I've read a ton of books since then that I've deemed worthy of being a keeper. Books I might actually read again. Books which were effective enough to not get sold back to Powell's for some mad money. Books that made me feel good just by looking at their spines and silently reminiscing about the good times we once had together.
So where do these books go?
It has to do with this habit of mine. If I like a book, I want everyone I know to read the book, too. I loan books out. I forget to whom I've loaned my books, so I never ask for them back. I know some of them have been read, but I'm not sure that I ever specified that I expected it to be returned.
Occasionally this comes back to bite me in the ass. Like when I want to read an old favorite. Or when I am trying to remember a particular passage that is bumbling precariously through my mind. Or when I am trying to do some dramaturgical research and my source is AWOL. Or when my life just would feel better in the company of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman's personal gentleman, Jeeves.
Today I finally sat down and compiled a list of books that are now former books. My ex-books, if you will. And these are just the titles I can remember-- I am certain there are a few strays that I've forgotten about. I'm not going to disclose a number, because that would make me feel a little slutty. I will admit that I would need another shelf to hold them all in the rare instance that the entire contents of the list are returned to me. A tall shelf.