Sunday, August 19, 2007
The Zen of Packing Books

I think my room is a magical library.

I spent the afternoon packing books, and there's just no fucking end to them. However many I extract from my room, however many tidy 18x12x12 boxes I fill, there are always more. For example, I sat down to pack a box of humor books and comix -- my collection is modest but focused, mostly Chris Ware and a little Crumb and Spiegelman. And I realized that I hadn't yet found In the Shadow of No Towers, so I went back to my room to have a look. I found it without too much trouble, but I also found twenty other books hiding here and there that needed to come out. So I piled them on my bed, fetched a box, and carried them out to the garage where book-packing-related programs-activites were underway. But then I realized that I also hadn't seen my copy of Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, so I went back to my room to find it, and ended up with another three dozen books piled on the bed. I went throught the whole process four or five times before giving up for the day. The weird thing is, there weren't really that many books in my room -- quite a few piled next to the bed, a few on the shelves and nearby, but it's not like I had that many extant stacks.

So there's really only one explanation: magic.

I'm putting a lot of effort into keeping like with like, so when I pull them out again in a few months I don't have to spend that extra time sorting through them. It was easy initially -- all the western canon-type stuff goes in a box; all the old academic books on folklore go in another box; the film books filled up a box neatly. But after the first half dozen boxes it became more associative and zen -- science, atheism, politics, and poetry ended up in a box together. Harlan Ellison and James Joyce are sharing a box. I'm wondering how far I can get before I start chucking all the orphans in boxes at random.

By my calculations, the drive from Memphis to Portland will take about 40 hours. That's 40 hours of actual driving, mind you -- not counting stopping for fuel, overnighting at motels, and sanity breaks. That's a long time to spend staring into the middle distance. So I've included a small fund for listening material in my budget -- I've got a couple of albums on my list to pick up, and I'm thinking I might grab a dozen or so downloads of old This American Life shows for those moments when all I really want is to hear someone talk about something interesting. But I'd still welcome some suggestions, and I know my readers have good taste. And it doesn't all have to be music.
7:45 PM ::
Amy :: permalink