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How Many Books is a Lot?


Rob Dean
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Hmmmm,

 

probably about 5000 in paper, (and about 3000 in electronic only, although a lot of them don't count as I only grabbed them as they were free), bulging shelves everywhere (most with at least 2 layers on), a wardrobe that now has boxes of books inside, a big stack in the lounge about the size of an armchair base I use as a side table, I'm pretty much at capacity but it hurts to contemplate getting rid of any of them.

 

The one real frustration I have with ebooks is it's so much harder to re-read stuff, with real books I could quickly scan across the shelves until memory caught on a title or author, something i remembered that fitted my mood, scanning through an ebook library is so much harder, and what you see doesn't provide the memory cues a book of a certain size, spine design, cover, etc does.

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17 hours ago, Rob Dean said:

  So do those of you with arguably a lot of books generally have them organized in some library-like way?  

Heh, no. I have a few shelves, but not nearly enough. So I also have a lot of books still in boxes and some in tall stacks next to the shelves. And a few piles elsewhere. 

 

We did get a pretty nice shelf for hubby's dnd books. Most of them fit :lol:

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A lot of books is my workplace....or when you have to start describing your collection in linear kilometers...any less is just getting started

 

That said,  i need to cull my collection of the books that were only picked up because they were part of a larger set that I wanted a few of and it was cheaper than getting those books individually

 

I wouldn't say I have a lot of books,  only a few hundred

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On 4/26/2019 at 10:17 AM, Rob Dean said:

So, I don't mean to dump on Marie Kondo, because a lot of her ideas are ones that I agree with, and doing the Konmari clothes folding thing with my dresser was absolutely brilliant.  But, like most of us, she has some blindspots.  Here's the actual quote from the book section of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, bold text as in the original:

 

"The most common reason for not discarding a book is 'I might read it again'. Take a moment to count the number of favorite books you have actually read more than once.  For some it may be as few as five while for some exceptional readers it may be as many as one hundred. People who reread that many are usually people in specific professions, such as scholars or authors. Very rarely will you find ordinary people like me who read so many books.  Let's face it.  In the end, you are going to read very few of your books again."

 

Now, me, I guess supporting a wargaming habit could be considered to make me a scholar :rolleyes:, but I have kept track of my reading since 2002 or so, and I am rereading 50-60 books a year most years.  There aren't many books on my fiction shelf I've read only once. (Anything in that category has basically already been culled.) History gets a lot more once through and then cherry-picked sections to address specific questions.

So, my quick, back of the envelope calculation has probably only about 1000 books still in the house, but (1) I've been paring down, in the face of a likely impending move; and (2) there are already some boxes of books in the storage unit.  (I also ignore all gaming books).  Of those, there are some that I have yet to read (mainly reference books for historic wargaming), but there are probably in excess of a hundred that I have read, and reread at least once every couple of years.  (Hell, if I ever get around to picking up the last couple of books I am missing from the Discworld series, that's about 40 books right there that I will gladly reread.  Add in Harry Potter, Niven's Known Space, Heinlein, and a couple other authors, and I'm easily at 100 that I hit every few years.

 

But her thing is also about what brings joy.   I just got rid of a series - I read them once, have read the first couple again, but don't really think that they need to be on my bookshelf, let alone moved across the country.  So, they can go.  And it just makes room for other books - I have been meaning for finish getting the Sector General novels, and I am missing a couple Castle Perilous, and (I think) 4 of the Thieve's World. . . . all of which will bring me more happiness in reading and rereading than this other series currently does.

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Doug you have too few books.  I have conservatively  400 lineal feet of books. Most of them I have reread.  I have about 3' of unread books.  I recently culled my books.  By weeding out duplicates.

 

My wife listens to Kondo.  I get it. My sister-in-law died about ten years ago.  We had to clear out her house.  It was jammed packed with stuff. In boxes that had never been opened.  That was not a good time.

 

But Kondo has it wrong.  Live with the clutter unless it brings you sadness. That is the time to clean out.

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My thoughts on books is that if your bookshelves haven't collapsed into a singularity, you don't have enough. If the Library of Congress and Vatican aren't envious of your collection, you don't have enough. 

 

That said aid I have always taken my greatest joy from the "pocket worlds" contained within books. This is why I found the Myst series of games so engrossing, they were literally creating portals to other worlds through their writing and able to travel there bodily. 

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Also about organization.  I organize mine by subject then author.  Military non fiction, Thrillers, Westerns, Science Fiction & Fantasy paperbacks (largest), Science Fiction & Fantasy anthologies, Science Fiction & Fantasy Hardbacks, Mysteries, Miscellaneous, Gamming and Computer related.  My board games and music cds are between misc and computer books. 

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Late to the party on this.  I've got lots of books.  More than I shelf space for.  So I'm building more shelves.  Ive watched Kondo, and do believe that peiple are taking her out of context, as Guindy and others have noted.

I periodically cull through what I have and get rid of things I dont see myself reading again. 

Until I get the shelves built, I only have books grouped by author.  Awesome Wife and I are currently cataloging our collection so we have a record of what we have (and what holes in series we have as well).  Our used book stores do good business.

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Oh, so far we have 12 boxes of books. There's still a box or so left in our bedroom and then there's the dnd books on their shelf. 

 

I'm sure it will feel like a lot of books when we're moving them, but I don't feel like it's a lot. It's certainly not as many as I want. 

 

(Did you ever see the animated Beauty and the Beast? You know that scene where he gives her that library? Yeah, that's enough books :winkthumbs: )

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1 minute ago, redambrosia said:

Oh, so far we have 12 boxes of books. There's still a box or so left in our bedroom and then there's the dnd books on their shelf. 

 

I'm sure it will feel like a lot of books when we're moving them, but I don't feel like it's a lot. It's certainly not as many as I want. 

 

(Did you ever see the animated Beauty and the Beast? You know that scene where he gives her that library? Yeah, that's enough books :winkthumbs: )

I had a great uncle that had a library like that. Not quite so large bit still a 20x20 purpose built library in a private home was nothing to sneeze at.  And it was full and books were everywhere else in the house.  When he got Alzheimer's and moved to Arizona to live with his niece, I'm pretty sure that one shipping container was nothing but books.  Problem was that he couldnt remember already having a books, and would buy more copies.  He passed on a while back, and I dont know what happened to his collection.

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Wow, 2019 seems like a different world now. :blink:

 

I’ve had some bookish ups and downs since then.  For one thing, in the middle of the pandemic, I thought about a minimal library intended for, say,  an extended RV trip or a sabbatical, might look like, and actually physically pulled it together:

 

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The idea would be that I need to keep myself fed, and entertained by working on an RPG or solo wargames campaign. ::D: Futher explanation is on my blog.

 

It isn’t book related, but I figured that I would take my travel paint set, and enough unpainted miniatures to actually build the Herodotus/Thucydide/Xenophon Greek/Persian project:

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My wife and I enjoy Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast.  Her listener challenge for this year is to read daily (for 21 minutes, for ‘21…). I was happy to accept a little push to do more reading, and recently logged book 66 for the year, which is pretty good considering that I got to 66 for the entire year in both 2020 and 2019.  I am doing so-so on balancing reading and buying…I’m still probably buying 1.5 books for each bought book finished. ::P: I’ve been cycling out finished fiction that someone else might want to read through the local Tiny Free Libraries, which I pass while I’m cycling. ::D:

 

I had one shelf give way on one of my Billy shelves from Ikea, and have a shopping list drawn up for serious barrister bookcases, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

 

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Wow, this was an old one that I somehow missed, but I'll chime in. 

 At one point, several moves ago, Mrs. Wulf and I had about 7 billy bookcases that were mostly full ( we had room for a few figurines and pictures and such but the majority was books.)  

Three moves late, (due to landlords not wanting to renew leases because they could re-let the house for double what we were paying, we finally ended up putting almost everything in storage and moving in with her sister for 8 months while we were having a house built, we had to pare down the collection considerably.  Three years later it's rebuilding but we're more conservative in our book buying than we were, having both got in the habit of using e-readers more heavily.
While I agree that a tablet just doesn't quite replace the feel of a paper book, it very convieniant.  As someone who at any given time may have 4-6 books I'm partly through (usually for different reading mood, I can compartmentalize a non fiction, a light fiction, and a heavy fiction pretty easily)

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I go back and forth on the virtues of e-readers.  I’ve been using one since 2010 or so, but this year I started out to see whether I could do more reading on paper.  So far, paper seems to be increasing my reading speed/time again, and I don’t get shunted off down some internet rabbit hole by easily cross checking a reference. :P 

 

I’ve also been trying to combine the reading advantages of paper with the storage advantages of e-books by borrowing books from my local library again.  I’d gotten out of the habit a bit.

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So I was extending the lease of a library book online, and I happened to see that since I applied I have borrowed 1300+ books. This lead me to thinking about how many books I've read. Considering that I have 200+ books on my bookshelf and I hardly buy books, as well as that most of the books I read nowadays are ebooks. I have come to the conclusion that it's atleast 2000 (conservative estimate)
By books I mean actual books. Not magazines. Not newspapers. Not textbooks. Not manuals. Books meant for recreational reading. That's a lot, right?

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