I'm sitting at the computer in our home office and pondering the eclectic collection of books on the shelf beside me.
For instance, here's one pile, and from bottom to top, there is:
1. Usted y yo -- that was my grade 10 Spanish book, used many lunas ago, in school.
2. Home Buying Strategies for Resale Homes [did we use any of the strategies when we bought our two homes? I think not.]
3. Why We Love the Dogs We Do
4. The Jewish Pleasure Principle
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People [do they list my bad habits, I wonder]
6. The Business Writer's Handbook
7. How To Clean Practically Anything [man, that book is gathering dust!]
8. How To Succeed in Your Home Business
9. After Long Silence [ a powerful memoir about the secrets that held one family together in a bond of silence for more than four decades. Hint: author was raised Roman Catholic, and only as an adult, did she discover her parents were Jewish, Holocaust survivors living invented lives.]
10. A Dictionary of Textile Terms [referred to in the prelim pages as "the new language of fabrics." Now why we even have this book at all is beyond me.]
11. Waters of Babylon [short stories written by my girlfriend's father, describing his life in Bagdad, Iraq, before his family moved to Israel. This is an autographed copy, and as well, I have a credit in the book, as I helped with the editing of this vanity press book.]
12. Webster's Thesaurus
13. Parenting Wit and Wisdom [no, I did not write that book]
Yes, this is certainly a random gathering on one shelf. Another bookshelf on the opposite wall houses an assortment of cookbooks on one shelf and a collection of benschers gathered from many simchas over the years on another shelf.
Our home is certainly a house of books --- children's books, business books, reference books, cookbooks, coffee table books (but we have no coffee tables, so they're just "shelved books"), parenting books, educational books and Jewish and religious books.
But with our last move, I had to lose some of the amassed novels and outdated reference books because of space allowance. Saying goodbye to a book is sometimes like saying goodbye to a friend. First you offer a quick hello (when you don't recall that you even had read the book, so you skim the pages) and then a quick goodbye -- and move on.
I even have a few autographed books with personal messages -- Canadian poet Irving Layton's poetry collection For My Brother Jesus, Herman Wouk's The Hope, Mordecai Richler's Joshua Then and Now, to name a few. These books will remain treasured friends, and I will continue to make room for them in my life -- and on my bookshelf!