Tonawanda News

Columns

June 19, 2013

DUVALL: Book project a trip down memory lane

Tonawanda News — They say no man on his death bed ever said “I wish I spent more time at the office.” After a restorative week away from the news and the News, I won’t disagree.

I didn’t do anything particularly exciting. Caught up on laundry. Went through some old clothes and found three garbage bags worth of items to drop off at the Salvation Army. 

One project I hadn’t planned on undertaking left me thinking, though. 

I reorganized my bookshelf.

It started simply enough, with the desire to shelve about 30 books acquired from places near and far over the last few years that were haphazardly stacked and beginning to catch dust (like too many other things laying around my apartment).

I’m a little OCD when it comes to things like this. I’m far from a neat freak but certain things need to be the way I want them to be for me to feel OK about the world. A bookshelf is one of them.

When I moved in I took a page (haha, get it?) from the movie “High Fidelity” wherein John Cusack’s character reorganizes his massive record collection. Not alphabetically or chronologically but biographically — as in, ordered by where and when he acquired them.

I did roughly the same thing, grouping books from times in my life. Childhood favorites were grouped together. My favorite of my college English classes were on another shelf. Post-collegiate fiction and non-fiction were elsewhere. 

It was a quaint idea and I had fun deciding where each book should go. Should “Red Badge of Courage” be filed under childhood favorites because I first read it in the 10th grade, or under college books because I read it again in American lit class? (College won out because the copy I have was purchased at the Canisius bookstore, probably for $10 more than I could have bought it at a used bookstore.)

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