The Ever-Expanding TBR Pile

IMG_8897I went to the summer book sale today. Should I have gone to the summer book sale? The answer is an unequivocal no. Filling a shopping bag with second-hand books for just $8 and a good cause is the kind of feels-so-good-because-it’s-so-bad fantasy I write about in my romance novels. But I went, knowing I am a weak, and I returned with bounty.

That currently doesn’t fit anywhere. I still live with my folks. My boyfriend moved down from the Boston area almost two years ago, and we share my childhood bedroom turned adult bedroom-slash-office. I dream of an office space that doesn’t also have two dressers and a futon, but I am forever grateful for this opportunity to try my hand at writing as a career. It’s just… there’s not a whole hell of a lot of room, and that’s my fault.

I hoard books. I don’t know if you can tell by the above I shouldn’t have gone to the book sale but did anyway bit, but I’m a book hoarder. I have a Kindle and an iPad Mini and I use both regularly to read ebooks, but that doesn’t stop me from grabbing every physical copy of a book I can get my hands on and stacking them onto the already precarious TBR pile that is my bedroom/office. I would estimate that we’ve far surpassed the thousand mark, and maybe twenty of those don’t belong to me.

But I can justify each and every one of those books, and I’m going to do it right now and right here.

Starting with art books. These are in two sections, above my dresser, where height isn’t an issue (art books are large and unwieldy) and then hopping across the room to the wine box shelf where my Da Vinci collection holds court from when I worked on a historical fiction book for kids.

Next to art is crafts and cooking, then poetry and plays. On this same shelf are books on a different craft– writing and journalism, and specific memoirs and historical texts based on events in the writing and journalism world. Many are by beloved professors and others I continue to use regularly, so I keep them around because I genuinely need them.

IMG_8898Going left…The tall black shelf with all the masquerade masks is romance– what else could it be– or one of them at least. There’s a massive behemoth dictionary gathering dust on the bottom shelf, and I think it might be the least useful book in the whole room. Getting that thing out to look for a word takes a fairy godmother.

Continuing left…When you first enter the room, you’ll see a low, white cabinet. Inside this cabinet is fifteen years worth of handwritten stories, notebooks filled with looping scrawl and FanFiction on the backs of math worksheets. I don’t use those journals, but I can’t bear to throw them away, either. On the top of this cabinet is my library of Harry Potter books and Juliette Marillier books, a fantasy author you need to drop what you’re doing and start reading immediately. These two mini-libraries take up that entire shelf. 

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A quick jaunt across the room brings you to the big shelf. This one is three long rows and stacked two deep. On the bottom and middle are mostly classics. I tried to shelve them chronologically and realized I didn’t actually know the chronology of a lot of these books, so I shelved them by author country of origin instead.

There’s the Russians and the Irish (soooo many Irish) and the English and then it sort of devolves from there. On the top level of this shelf is oversized travel books and modern books, plus the coffee table classic car books I review for my day job, which also pose a size and shape issue. Right around here is when I start stacking books…

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Continuing on, the turquoise shelf is YA and kid’s books I can’t stand to get rid of– original Wizard of Oz books, Nancy Drew, Shel Silverstein, Winnie the Pooh and onward. These are the books I’ll keep for my kids to read as I did. More piles of books on top of this shelf.

And then we come to the wine box shelf. We made this one ourselves and I love it. I have a section for science and environmental books, my Da Vinci library, the Outlander collection, a few of Robbie’s series (I give him room!… a little…) and then three more boxes of romance from last year’s RWA event! It’s a good thing there’s not more wall space or we’d add another box or two. 

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There’s also a bag of about 20 more romance novels on the floor that my best friend picked up at a second hand book store. They’re just on the floor. I literally don’t have anywhere else for them to go…

IMG_8899I don’t know how many of the books in this room I’ve read or used– best guess is half. But whether or not the spine has been cracked, I won’t get rid of them. This library is full of special, useful, important books, and I look forward to the chance to move into a real office one day, with enough room for all of them to be in their proper homes.

But first, I need to find a place to put all the books I bought today… ♥

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