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.