Reuniting with My Books

Today I’d like to link back to a mini-essay I wrote a few years ago, reflecting on the experience of packing 17 boxes of books and storing them in my parents’ attic. That “first separation,” as I now refer to it, was prompted by the beginning of my three years on the road. The “first reunion” began as I wrote this mini-essay, sharing my experience of moving select books from those 17 boxes into my full-time home–a 1970 Airstream trailer. That essay, published via The Quivering Pen’s “My Library” series, includes details on making the hard decisions:”More than any other challenge that trailer-living provides, organizing my library pains me the most. In lieu of an extra bed, I had a few bookshelves installed. Like everything in an Airstream, the space doubles as something else—in this case, where I practice meditation.  But what matters here are the books. The far left shelf holds…” [read the full essay here]

It’s fun to look back at the essay seven years later, because until this week–March 2016–those books haven’t been together in the same place, unpacked, and shelved. Over the past few weeks, I’ve taken the boxes down one by one, spending an afternoon here and there sorting and stacking. Brad and I purchased our first home (as some of you know from this) in January and will move into it this fall, upon his graduation. Meantime, I have a place to unpack, and oh is it delightful.

Hemingway and Ursula Hegi will sit near each other. My friend Britt Kaufmann’s poetry will be near Keroac’s, which is a lovely thought. Old friends I’d forgotten–books interpreting Thoreau’s Walden, philosophy texts that kept me up many-a-night at Whitman College, and even my old notebooks from my MFA at Pacific University will find a home on the shelves in a wide-length, well-lit built-in closet in my studio in our new home.

And in the spirit of celebrating great book arrangements, here’s a handy array of lovely designs. At least I never had to figure out what to do with this many texts!


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