The books belonged to our local city librarian, a very nice man. He was getting married, to a librarian, and between them they had way too many books. The books he was selling were on metal bookshelves and filled up an entire room in his apartment. If I wanted them, I had to take them all.
Over the years he had put together a decent collection of history, biography, travel memoirs, and old journals of explorers and soldiers. There were map books, old travel guides, a lot of military history, and very little fiction. The fiction was mostly old first editions, none in fine condition. Many of the books were ex-library with "Withdrawn" stamped inside the cover. It was really too much to take in at first. I did not know very much about anything I saw, but I still HAD TO HAVE the books.
My husband did not object. He went to the bank with me to apply for a loan. The loan officer was our friend and she knew how much I loved to read. Together my husband and I cleared out one of our bedrooms to make space for the books.
When I paid the gentle man who was parting with his books, I asked him how he could sell them. He said he did not want to, they were like his children, but he had no choice. Over the years I have come to understand what he meant by "like his children". I have grown to love some of them also.
There are many tales in our family about the moving of the books. After a few years we packed them up (I am guessing at least 80 to 100 boxes full) and moved them to Oregon in the middle of winter in a converted school bus. They were moved four or five times after that before I started selling some of them to dealers. It was when my husband's work took us BACK to California that I called Powell's Books in Portland. Knowing what I know now, I would have done a better job of selecting the books I had on offer. Powell's bought several hundred books and paid me a fair sum. But, I have always regretted "the ones that got away". Like these:
And, many biographies and natural history books I would love to have back.
In California, I sold more books from the original library. When we made our last move, BACK to Oregon, maybe one third of the original library remained. I have always acquired more books, a few at a time, since buying the library. English Literature, literary fiction in several genres, mystery books, and travel and food writing have filled in the gaps.
Now to the purpose of this blog - - I have not read many, many, many of the books I now own and I am determined to do so. My "To Be Read" (TBR) stack is huge. I have my own version of "Book A.D.D." and need a way to focus my reading.
I hope you will join me on a journey through the stacks. It will be a winding road, full of detours, and backtracking, but there will be so many wonderful things to see. I promise!
I love comments, and would like to know what is in your TBR stack.