The old Girl Scout song
Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, but the other gold.
could have been written for a bookworm like me.
The time finally came when something had to be done. My husband measured the chosen space and Al's Woodcraft made us a bookcase to fit–one that matched the existing ones in our library/office. The 20-year old computer was hauled to Orange Coast College's recycling center.
Once the new bookcase was securely fastened to the wall, it had to be filled.
That took days.
Piles had to be brought together and sorted.
Books that had been randomly stuck on shelves were pulled out and added to the piles.
Then the piles were sorted into broad categories, like biographies and classics.
Books on existing shelves had to be rearranged to make room because, for example, all World War 2 books should be together, and now there's 20 of them instead of just 10. Michael Connelly and Charles Todd published several books since the last time our shelves were organized.
All our hardcover books had been meticulously organized. Paperbacks were shelved by size. As a paperback came to the top of a pile, one couldn't help asking, "Wouldn't it be nice if all the Heinlein paperbacks were in one place instead of scattered?" So all the paperbacks were pulled out and sorted.
There were distractions. A saved magazine had an article about Emily Dickinson's family home and its scandalous use as an assignation place for her brother and his long-time mistress. One had to order a used copy of the award winning biography that revealed the whole sordid affair.
And discoveries. "Here's that book I searched all over for two months ago. Why couldn't I find it?"
Childhood buddies came out of hiding. One forced oneself to pile them up, to come back to later, as a reward for finishing the whole thing.
Then there were the duds, books that weren't well-written or bored us or that we knew we'd never read again. These were donated to Friends of the Library in Newport and Costa Mesa.
It's all done now. The floors are once again bare of books. There are empty shelves–room for expansion of our library. We can find things again, like the missing book on the '69 Cubs.
And I can sit down to laugh my way through Jane Trahey's Tuesdays 'Til 9 and Life With Mother Superior, relive the American Revolution from the Tory point of view with Kenneth Roberts' Oliver Wiswell and check out the similarities to the TV series The Young Pope by rereading Baron Corvo's Hadrian VII. Tarzan and the Foreign Legion, The Last of the Mohicans, Treasure Island and The Mudhen and the Walrus, childhood favorites all, sit in a pile on my footstool, waiting their turn.
These old friends are really 24 carat.