One of my favorite things to do when I go to someone’s house is to look at his or her books. I automatically drift toward the bookshelf, and, quite often, I can tell if I’ll like a new person based on the books she owns. (What I’ve found is that people with bookshelves in their living rooms tend to like the same kinds of books that I do – but that probably has something to do with my not visiting people I haven’t already decided I like. Then, there are people like my mother, who have bookshelves full of Christian self-help books, but with A Confederacy of Dunces stuck in the middle.)
Here’s what I’m getting at: For years, I’ve used a Mac app called Delicious Library to catalog my books. As I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve amassed a lot. Except after a while, I always let it go – buy books or weed books without noting them since that means more work than I’m willing to do before I’ve forgotten all about it. Well, Delicious Monster finally released a new version of the software, and there’s a handy iPhone companion app that scans books directly into Delicious Library, taking out most of the work. Of course, I have lots of books without barcodes, so I had to enter them manually, but it didn’t take long. I think I can handle that much if it means I’ll stop buying duplicate books. I’m really bad about that: at one point, I had three copies of The Poisonwood Bible, and I haven’t even read it.
Along with the neat scanning feature, Delicious Library also publishes shelves to the internet. Sadly, the pages are a bit clunky and there’s no search box, but it requires almost no work on my part, and it’s pretty enough. So far, I’ve only cataloged fiction, but that includes some non-fiction Kindle books and some plain ol’ nonfiction that has been on my fiction shelf from the beginning. So don’t post a nasty comment telling me that Walden is not fiction. I know it isn’t. It’s just there, and it’s probably not moving since it’s been there so long.
Anyway, if you’re interested on what I have on my bookshelves (the fiction ones, at least), click here and check them out. As I said, ignore the bulk: I would have done it differently, but I’m not willing to put that much work into it. It’s still pretty awesome if you think about it.
I think I’ll do poetry next. Somehow, most of my books aren’t fiction, even though that’s almost always what I read. I have a bunch of academic stuff from college (I have degrees in English and philosophy) that I’m seriously considering getting rid of and a bunch of random nonfiction books that are just taking up space. I should probably tackle that stuff, too, before we move, because that’ll mean we have to transfer fewer boxes – and books are heavy.
Re-cataloging my books is a good experience: I hadn’t given my bookshelves much attention for a couple of years, and I’d forgotten about some of what I have. And then there are the duplicates. I hope that this time I’ll make myself keep up with it so I can stop wasting money and space.