Library Thing: the good. the bad. the compulsion.

Okay, to be clear: obsessivecompulsive is my middle name. Now that we have that established, let’s get on to LibraryThing.

LT has compelled me to seek out books from the oddest places. The couch cushions (the Girl’s copy of Bridget Jones’ Diary), the trunk of the car (also hers: Naked), boxes in various closets (so there’s my copy of The Grand Sophy! so that’s where the critical edition of Anne Frank went!), under beds, on top of bookcases, behind credenzas, in seldom used suitcases, briefcases, overnight bags: all fruitful. We are a bookish family, and the evidence is everywhere.

And I haven’t even forced the Girl to go through her closet yet.

The good: I won’t have to replace books that aren’t really lost. The bad: I will have to replace books I can’t find and can’t do without.

So tell me: who has got my early hardcover edition of Lonesome Dove? A reading copy, but still. We read it out loud as a family when Elisabeth was about seven and we all cried when you-know-who died. If you don’t know who, go read the novel. It really is a masterpiece, and now I want to reread it but of course, I can’t. Well okay, I can, because I just bought a new copy.

Thus it has gone: books found, books missing, books bought. Where is my Norton Critical Edition of Emma? Zinn’s History? I, Claudius? The list of the missing is about twenty books long at this point. LibraryThing is turning out to be a little more expensive than I thought.

But let me tell you how nice it is to have all the books organized. Or, almost organized. The upstairs bookshelves look like Marian the Librarian has been having her way with them. All fiction, and books on writing and linguistics, and referencee. Downstairs? Okay, a ways to go yet, but it’s coming along. Non-fiction, research, sport, math. Yes, I’ve banished all the Mathematicians books to the lower level bookshelves. His office (which is twice the size of mine, I must point out) is also down there. I stand by my command decision on this point.

And it’s just plain fun to have the damn things in a searchable, browsable format online. It’s also useful. Now I have a sheild to protect me when the Girl claims we don’t have a copy of Stephen King’s IT. In fact we have three copies. She looked a little sheepish when I showed them to her, and I admit it: I looked smug. Now we only have to resolve the family dispute on what to do with extra copies. The Mathematician and the Girl would save toenail clippings if I let them. The Mathematician has stopped me from getting rid of a five-inch wide polyester tie with a tomato soup stain on it that he last wore in highschool. Why? Somebody gave me that tie. Who? I don’t know. Somebody.

Well now somebody is going to throw it away.

The Mathematician and the Girl are terrible squirrlers away of odd bits and pieces, but I will prevail in the end. Two copies of IT is quite enough.