: views from the Hill

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Book sorting progress

... of sorts.

Doesn't help to be tied down here because the solar guys were supposed to put the panels back up on the new roof today but never showed. Maybe tomorrow his nibs will work from home and set me free to sort some more ...

Sour Grapes offers in comments re Barchester Towers If I win you can have it. I've got it already.

Thanks. I was just feeling left out because I wanted to enter the contest too! I'm pretty sure I have a copy somewhere -- probably in a box marked "classics" or "misc" or "fiction" or ...

The book sorting goes apace. Well, "at a pace" anyway.

All travel books (except for USA travel) are out of their boxes and shifted over to adjacent bookcases, sorted by continent and country. The BENELUX titles and others of the ilk are a problem. I found multiple copies of some titles, which seems always the case, but not that many multiples. Even with the travel books settled, I get sidetracked thumbing through old travel books about Venice and travel memoirs and ... well, I get sidetracked a lot.

After I shifted and sorted the travel books, I moved the cookbooks that were in the shelves over there over thataway to fill in the empty shelves where the travel books had been (adjacent to the bulk of the cookbooks) so now all the cookbooks are in one bank of shelves instead of scattered around. There are still boxes (six or so) that are boxed up because there's no shelf space plus an additional box with a set of "Grande Diplome" cookbooks that I picked up used somewhere and two boxes that are filled with the Time-Life cookbook series that I picked up used here and there over time. A friend asked if I'd be willing to give her a set of Time-Life cookbooks and I said sure, but she's got to get herself over and pick them up.

Most of the cookbooks still in boxes are "community cookbook" sorts of titles. I've sorted the titles on the shelves into "baking" "country-specific" "barbecue" "old" "San Francisco" "California" sorts of categories.

On the shelves after sorting, I discovered multiple editions of the Household Searchlight Recipe Book: three from different years in the '30s, two from the '40s and a couple from the '50s. (The name changed to the Searchlight Recipe Book in 1942.) Different editions! Keep them all! Well, no. Turns out even though the books have different edition numbers and different publication dates, the contents of the 1st-14th editions are the same, according to this site.

I have multiple editions of Fannie Farmer's cookbook, two copies of Larousse Gastronomique, multiple copies of James Beard books, two copies of Rene Verdon's The White House Chef Cookbook (and tell me, should that be a general USA cookbook or should I put it in "San Francisco" because Verdon ran Le Trianon here for years?) There are, of course, multiple copies of some Sunset cookbooks, multiple copies of other titles. I filled up two boxes worth of duplicates for the library. The weirdest, though, was the duplicate copy of Madame Chang's Long Life Chinese Cookbook. Two copies? How did that ever happen?

The cookbooks are pretty well sorted now, although I may find that I have a French dessert cookbook in with dessert cookbooks and another copy in with French cookbooks. Those will sort out in time.

Next up is to start getting the SFF in order. My SFF books are the most likely to have duplicates because my brother and I had copies of the same books in our collections and those collections combined after he died. The most egregious example of too many copies of a title is a Heinlein title for which I wound up with two paperback copies, two hardbacks and one mass market paperback.

I'll take the empty bookcases that had held cookbooks and setup a rough sort (A-Z by author, 'natch) of the SFF books and winnow out the duplicates. I won't be able to get all of them on the empty shelves I have remaining, but I can at least sort through them in alphabetic shifts. Thanks be that I had the SFF boxed separately from the fiction, and labeled so I could find them in amongst all the piles.

After the pass through the SFF is complete, I'll start sorting through all the boxes labeled MISC and VERY MISC and NFIC and, of course, those boxes that are somehow unlabeled. I'll get the books organized in some sort of fashion so I can easily see that I have two copies of How to Build Your Dream House for Less Than $3500 and get rid of duplicates. (Yes, I know I have two copies, maybe three of that book. I'd bought one for myself, you see, because I'd loved my parents' copy. I gave a copy to my brother because I knew he'd love it. I may have bought a spare at some time too. ...)

I'll rough-sort the misc and pull out the fiction titles and the juv and sort the rest into some broad categories: science, essays/memoirs, biography/autobiography, history, reference, gardening, computers ... I don't know. I need to think out the sort before I get seriously into it or I'll wind up sorting and resorting and ...

I also have all the boxes of books that are already labeled "science" and "physics" and "law" and "reference" and whatever that I needs must go through because there was some higglety-pigglety-ness in the boxing up before the move and who knows what may have been tucked into an almost-full box at the last minute.

Once I can lay out all the PHYSICS or GEOLOGY or SOFTWARE DESIGN books in one place I can get a handle on duplicates and other titles that I don't need to save shelf space for.

Maybe along the way I'll find my copy of Barchester Towers and Vanity Fair and Morrison & Boyd's Organic Chemistry. Why own a book if I can't find it?

Yes, I am being unduly obsessive/compulsive about this (Why do you ask?) but I'm also using the exercise as one enormous procrastination project while I mull over the rewrite on the great American crime novel.

Productive procrastination, I call it. (The dupes and discards will be given to the library to use or sell! It's for the library! Think of the public libraries!)

(And I have visions of my darlings having to sort through all of Mom's old books after I take my dirt nap, looking for those of value. Better that I weed the collection now and save them at least some of the effort.)

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