December 1, 2008 | Better than chocolate,Me, myself,Serendipity
Six months after moving into my new house, my library is finally unpacked – all sixty-plus boxes of it. (I stopped counting at sixty.) I’d given myself a year to finish the job, planning it around research for books. Unfortunately, I hadn’t realized I’d be writing this particular manuscript right now, a tale which depends on one and only one reference book. And guess what? Yup, you’ve got it right: my aspiring anal-retentive self may have labeled all those boxes – but I hadn’t marked which one contained the unique reference book upon which this tale depended. So I needed to open box after box after box until I found it.
Well, I needed to find and enjoy my library again, right? My bookaholic self certainly thought so. My back disagreed but it was overruled.
Now I’m enjoying having all my treasures out in the open where I can see and touch them. All those dictionaries next to my desk, and my volumes of poetry just a few steps farther. My enormous Civil War atlas finally rejoices in a tall enough shelf, while Mount TBR has a bookcase to itself. Okay, it’s deliberately only a small bookcase but it is a dedicated one!
Some odd juxtapositions popped up along the way, too. Cats and baseball coexist on the same shelf. Okay, maybe that’s because the number of books on each subject worked out that way – or maybe cats and baseball players both scamper after balls? Perhaps. And Chaco Canyon, home of fascinating Native American ruins, lives right next to Washington’s spies, who in turn snuggles up to the Battle Cry of Freedom. My family took one look at that grouping and very firmly told me that I really needed to start writing more about pre-Civil War America! Harrumph!
As for fiction – well, at one point, Emma Holly was cozily sandwiched between Robert E. Howard’s Conan and E.M. Hull’s The Sheik. (Personally, I suspect she might have enjoyed their company.) If I find another auto-buy author starting with a ‘D’, I’m in serious trouble; that bookcase is already groaning. I’m barely coping with Kathleen Dante‘s career, since I grab everything she puts out.
Of course, there was the horrific moment when I realized a single one-foot-wide bookcase was expected to cope with four auto-buy authors: Emma Holly, Linda Howard, Angela Knight, and Mercedes Lackey. Ack! Peace was restored when Angela Knight and Mercedes Lackey moved to another bookcase. Hopefully, they can coexist with Elizabeth Lowell, since I buy everything she publishes on the first day it’s out. But if not, I’ve got a few spare shelves hidden away for expansion purposes… Life is good.
And if you’re wondering where that unique reference book was, which started the mad rush to unpack my entire library? Right where Murphy would have predicted it: the last stack, the bottom row, and the last box.