I’ve been spending the month of July moving my office. Phase 2 starts this weekend with the assembling of some desk furniture and moving my files and stuff downstairs.
Phase 1 was moving my library, and as part of that I handled just about every book in my collection, making a brief assessment as to what to keep and what to sell to HPB. I am easily suckered in by bundles, whether it’s the digital comic book / game variety these days, or actual bundles of books or magazines tied together with twine. Through one such acquisition I’d acquired a full long shelf (double stacked of course) of science fiction magazines, which had a lot of cool covers that I never looked at, with stories inside that I never read.
Despite having recently listened to Neil Gaiman’s charming introduction to Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free, I didn’t suspect that I had the story in there that would change my whole perspective on writing (especially with a lot of these older works being available in much easier to consume form on ManyBooks). So I sold about half the stack, going through each one to see if I recognized the authors, or even liked the titles to determine which ones to keep.
This weekend was Half Price Book’s coupon sale, an exercise in trying to save the most money on a single item without getting suckered in by the clearance section. On the 50% day I did what my wife and I have termed “a trifecta” hitting up the Lane, Bethel and Graceland HPB’s. At both Lane and Bethel were beautiful crowd facing carts with vintage sci-fi mags, going for $1-2 a piece. Ironically the only store that didn’t have these was Graceland where I’d actually sold my books. Now other than suspecting I should have sold the magazines somewhere else, as HPB was making a lot more money off them than I had, I had a little pang of regret for getting rid of them.
Now bear in mind, I’d had these magazines for years and I still have a good stack of at least 45-60 (plus more than that many on my Kindle). I never read them, and only looked at them when I was down in the basement, which until my office moves down there fully was not that often.
But it’s weird how even when you’ve made the decision to get rid of something, that’s when you suddenly see it everywhere you go. It could be ex-girlfriends, books, technology, or whatever, but some things we don’t get away from easily.
Fortunately I stuck to my guns and came home with a short stack of graphic novels instead of old sci-fi mags, including a copy of Blankets by Craig Thompson that Matt suggested I’d like. Admittedly I’m trading one form of shelf fillers for another, but hopefully these are things I’ll actually read. At the end of the day I live in a small house, and much as I love to be surrounded by books, they need to be books I actually look at it and fondle more often than once every seven years (no matter what Churchill or whoever may say).
Have you ever gotten rid of something, only to be tempted by it the next time you go to the store?