My office, a large room that takes up the center section of the lowest floor in my split-level house, is surrounded by shelves filled with books, music scores, CDs, DVDs, and reel-to-reel tapes. Every few years, I have to go through the shelves and pull out the items I’m ready to part with. I then contribute them to the library of Howard County, Maryland.
Because I am a music lover and a trained musician, some shelf space is taken up with music scores and recordings. I have orchestral scores for my favorite symphonies and operas and many piano reductions and vocal scores of my favorite operas. I’ve now reduced my collection of recordings (records, tapes, and CDs) to a few shelves.
I long ago stopped adding to my collection of recordings, but books are another matter. Because I am undisciplined in my reading habits, I buy books more often than I get them from the library—I can’t be sure that I’ll finish with a book in time allotted me by the library. I frequently find myself reading more than one book at any given time and sometimes put aside a book before I finish reading it and return to it later. And I’m usually on the hook for a review of a new book sent to me by the organizations that publish my reviews (I now have well over a hundred in print on the internet). That work has to take priority over reading for pleasure.
So I end up with more books than I have room for. When it gets to the point that I’m piling books on the floor, I know it’s time to load the car and make a donation trip to the local library.
Mind you, I’m not complaining. I am a writer by vocation, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than a good read. That said, I wish I could learn to cope better with the endless flow of books.