Size of Listologists' personal libraries?

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I was just curious...

I'm almost curious abuot the breakdown in the 1000+ category :)

I could add some catagories, but would probably need to wipe out the votes. Is that right, Jim?

Actually, I don't think it would wipe them out. However, anybody that has voted on the poll before won't be able to vote again, even after you've added the new items. Perhaps the best workaround would be for you to clone this poll and put the new items in the new poll.

If you're curious...

2131 books. Not too shabby! I'd guess our library is somewhere in the 1500 range.

Wow, where do both of you put all of these books? Do you have a separate room, a real library, in your place? Any interest in describing your library to the rest of us?

Well about a third of them are on a large built-in bookcase I built in our bedroom last winter. The remaining two thirds will go on a new, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall, monster (12' x 8' with 28 adjustable shelves) built-in bookcase I'm building this winter (and spring, now). Hopefully next winter will be bookcase-construction-free.

Is this new book shelf in a special "library" room? I wonder if anyone has the library that you see in the movies, a separate room with a nice chair, a glass of brandy on an end table, nothing else in the room except for books...

Sadly, it's in a combination playroom/TV room/guest room. The dedicated library will have to wait until I've made my fortune. I'll probably never acquire the taste for brandy though. :-)

Do you mean to say that Listology hasn't made you a fortune yet? :)

And, I can sympathize with not having a taste for brandy. My end table would have a home-brewed beer on it instead.

Well, I bought a house nearly two years ago partly so I'd have room for more bookcases. There's 2 in the living room. 1 in the dining room (cookbooks). 2 in the hall upstairs, 4 in the office and 5 in the bedroom.

Let me ask you a question relating to something I've been wondering about. Why do you buy these books? What I mean is, it seems to me that most of these books you'd only read once, especially considering the number you have. Why would you buy them instead of borrowing them from the library? I'm not trying to be hostile with this question, just something I've been thinking of for myself, if I should save the money and just borrow, since I'm not likely to reread many of them.

I like having them around. Even though they are worthless X-th edition unsigned trade paperbacks, and I only refer back to or loan out a handful of them, they comprise a collection of sorts. I like the fact that it's kinda a window into our (mine and my wife's) personalities. Whenever I visit somebody I check out their books, and I'm sure my friends do the same. It's just plain interesting to see what folks read. I'm sure it's a form of insecurity that I like owning and showing off the books I've read rather than being content in the knowledge that I've read what I've read, but that's okay. We all have our vices and vanities.

And while it's a fairly expensive way to decorate, I think a wall full of books looks good and makes for an inviting room. When I visit people that don't have any books around I find it a bit depressing. That they might be voracious library readers never occurs to me (mostly because most people I know that are voracious library readers still own a fair number of books).

It's only recently that I've disciplined myself to not buy books that will take me forever to get around to reading. I only read about an hour or less a day these days, so my "to read" pile's turnover rate is depressingly slow.

I like the window into personalities description. I think that's a lot of it and why most of us put our books on display. It gives others an idea of who we are and what we find interesting. Thanks for phrasing it so nicely, Jim.

I'm not quite sure how big my library is, but I would guess around 1500 or so. I have them stacked every and the bookshelves are beyond full. Those 1500 or so books are ones that I want to keep. I have pared it down to the bones so to speak. Someday - my dream is to own a house where there is a real library and it is the focal point of the house. I agree that the display of books helps you to "broadcast" your personality but I also believe it helps to find out what other's personalities are. Usually, someone only picks up the books that interest them and that gives you a taste for what the other person likes. Having books around are a comfort to me. I buy books faster than I can read them because to me, unread books represent possibilities. I would be saddened if I had read all of the books I own. To me, that would mean that I stopped reaching for understanding. I have always believed that you are only old when you understand all the books you have read. Be young, celebrate knowledge and consider buying books one of the pleasures in life that no one nags you about.

I get nagged about it, but only by my friends who don't quite understand :) (and I don't pay attention them anyhow ;)

I'm not entirely sure. I grew up in a house that had a lot of books, though my dad did use the library a lot. Partially I just like browsing through bookstores and invariably buy books when I'm there. I'm not always in the mood for certain kinds of books so I like having a variety to pick from when I'm ready to start a new book (invariably at 2am or somesuch).

I AM trying to calm down a little bit and not buy them faster than I read them, but I'm not sure if I'll ever quite succeed at that.

I guess partly I just like having them around. *shrug*

Thanks for your thoughts. I think that I feel pretty much the same way, that I like having the books around me. I also think that there is some level of ego in it for me, in that I'm proud of my reading choices and I want people who visit my home to see what I read. That sounds pretty arrogant when I think about it, but I think there is some truth there, at least for me.

I totally agree with you buber. In many ways owning the books is a way of "showing off." What I enjoy about owning the books is that if I really love a book and I want my friend to read it I can just grab my copy and let them borrow it. Having a nice library is practical because sometimes I get impulses to reread the book, just certain parts, or skimming over it in general. Another reason for owning the books is that you derive something different from every novel, and I feel comforted by the fact that I can look at each of the books and just remember what I acquired or felt while I was reading them.

I agree with you too, sebreg. I don't know how much I reminisce when I look at my collection, since I have a horrible memory and often don't recall much of what I've read. But I do at least remember the time in my life when I read a particular book when I look at it.

I keep recommending books to people but won't loan them to everyone. I've had too many books come back taped back together and I'll admit it, I'm kinda uptight when it comes to the condition of my books.

My books tend to never get returned once I loan them out. And, I do admit, I've got maybe 5 to 10 books that people have loaned me that I haven't had a chance to get to.

Interestingly enough, when I got home last night, there was a box in the mail from a friend who lives in San Diego. I opened it and inside was a book I'd loaned him nearly 5 years ago. I'd actually forgotten I'd even given it to him.

that too :)