what I have learned (thus far) from LibraryThing and BookPedia

1. It’s really worthwhile to go through books carefully once in a while. Thus far I have found, stuck in various books, a five dollar bill, a ticket stub from a train ride from Ann Arbor to Chicago when the girlchild was three months old, a photo of my father, a letter from another writer I thought I had lost, and lots of memories.

2. Of the 1,480 books I’ve catalogued so far (about half way done, I think), five or six I’ve had since high school. It’s actually kind of strange to think that these books (a 1972 edition of Tale of Two Cities, and a collection called “Story Poems” among them) have been following me around for thirty years. Multiple moves back and forth bouncing between Chicago, Europe, Boston, New Jersey, Michigan, Washington State. Why these particular books? I have no idea. I can’t explain it. However, I suspect I’ve kept my sophomore English copy of Tale of Two Cities because I liked the cover. Sometime I’ll scan it.

3. Once in a while, for whatever reason, I ignored my own rule and bought a cheap edition of one book or another. I won’t do that anymore, because handling that awful paper, yellowed, brittle, slightly smelly, reminds me about this rule in the first place: no sloppy, ugly, cheaply printed editions. A waste of trees, resources, and money.

4. My memory is full of holes. Why do I have a half dozen bookclub books? I can’t imagine ever wanting them or ordering them.

5. Systematically going through books to put them into a database is a time consuming but rewarding enterprise. I have found lots of books I haven’t read in a long time but loved, and would like to read again. Adam Bede, for example.

If you’d like to browse through my library holdings (which increase every time I find another book tucked away in a couch, or a pile next to a chair, or two dozen or so on a high shelf) you can do that by going to my LibraryThing profile page and clicking on catalog. Or you can click on tags and restrict your browsing to the books on writing, novels, my medical research holdings, or whatever else interests you.

If you’ve got a LibraryThing account, do post your username so we can all go gawk.

11 Replies to “what I have learned (thus far) from LibraryThing and BookPedia”

  1. Wow, “Story Poems” edited by Louis Untermeyer? I had also kept that paperback since high school, and just gave it away when I thinned the shelves last month. It had “The Highwayman,” not to mention “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”!

  2. Robyn– yes. Story Poems by Louis Untermeyer. My name is written on the inside cover in a rather child-like scrawl, dated 1971.

    I can’t believe you had this book. Or wait a minute: yes I can.

  3. re my own little OC problem… I have found that if I use the Tag Cloud view I can spot the places where I’ve let a typo into a tag (e.g., you have a teeny 10950s and a big 1950s). Double-click on the erroneous one and it’s a fast path to edit the typo.

    That is all. r

  4. thanks for that catch… and just because something isn’t in the library doesn’t mean I haven’t read it, you know.


  5. I forsee as the next-frontier tag at LT: Used.to.Have.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that [rg]

  6. that would be a good idea, except it would feel like cheating to add a thousand or so books.Ihave.read.but.no.longer.own

    but I do wonder how many books that would be. I would guess I average maybe two books a week, which is around 100 books a year (since, say, age 10) …wow.

    Also, I’d have to factor in five years in graduate school when I would guess that my average was closer to ten books a week.


  7. I’d put off visiting the LT website until I had started the last week before maternity leave (the week I’ve taken off work to be at home to clean up before baby is born). But it sucked me in today. When I figure it all out, I’ll be able to post my profile, but for now it’s reminding me that it’s been a long time since I’ve written a bibliography. And longer since I’ve scanned the bookshelves here at home. Thanks for the referral.

  8. Pam — I hope you’ll make sure somebody posts a note here when the baby arrives. I’m sending good thoughts your way.

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