23 April 2006


I updated my LibraryThing. Don't be scared at the rolling tide of job-hunting books appearing on the shelf. As they say, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

22 April 2006

Spring Cleaning

So I'm moving in about a month and a half, to parts currently unknown, which means it's time to go over the ol' book collection. I made the probably unwise decision in September to try and consolidate my "can't live without 'em" books here on the East Coast, as opposed to in my childhood bedroom, but the upshot is I have way more books than I have bookshelves or boxes. I also mailed myself a ton of books to sell on Amazon.com, most of which I later found out were pretty much unsellable. (Alas, the same vendors that allow me to buy books for $0.01 also thwart my own sales!)

In about half an hour I pulled a whopping 26 books out of this place, most books I've read or used for a class that I really no longer need or want. I was originally going to send them to the New Orleans Public Library, but they are asking for monetary donations over books, so I think I'll just send them what I would have spent on mailing the books, and put them in the donation box set out by my local bookstore during textbook buy-back season. And as long as I was searching, I found two books to return to my sister, six to lend to my mom (who has lent me umpteen books over the years) and one to lend to my dad (who finally has time to actually read books I recommend to him, like THE TWINS OF TRIBECA). As if I needed another proof of my decadent lifestyle, that's thirty-five books just taking up space chez moi. That's just ridiculous on so many levels.

And that was the easy part! I also have in my room probably upwards of 20 books I've been meaning to read and haven't gotten around to yet. Even if I dropped out of school today, I probably couldn't finish them all before my move-out date. (And I'm not dropping out, so don't worry, Mom and Dad.) But it's ridiculous to cart that many around when not only does the world hold a large number of superlative libraries (like, um, the one three blocks away), but I am also constantly acquiring new books. Heck, I just bought seven or eight books on job hunting and careers (the fabulous life of a college senior) and I don't have space for them. I barely have room for the books I always take with me, foreign-language dictionaries and THIS SIDE OF PARADISE and LOST IN PLACE: GROWING UP ABSURD IN SUBURBIA and the like. My name is Ellen, and I officially have a Book Problem.

And I need a Battle Plan. Because on the other hand, I would like to be a minimalist even though I have stuff trouble. At least I know I have stuff trouble. Maybe I should return or read my library books first, right? And also, delete the document on my desktop called "Library to-do list." I'm not joking. I really do have a problem.

15 April 2006

The War Within

It's confession day at LN VS. ML.

I've been keeping a computerized list of books I've read since late 2001 (actually the weekend I visited a certain school while reading THIS SIDE OF PARADISE for the first time). If you saw the list you would only be able to conclude that I'm crazy, because it has all kinds of signs and color codes and I can sort it by author or by date. Because while I am a 21-year-old college student, I am also apparently the 40-year-old virgin with a copy of Excel in lieu of a lot of action figures.

Last year was the first complete year in which I kept track of all the movies I watched. I had compiled a list in the fall of 2004 while I was taking a Spanish film class and wanted to remember all the movies we watched for my friends not in the class who also loved Almodovar. Then I went abroad, and my library in Madrid had a pretty decent collection of recent Spanish movies, so I figured I'd use it to keep track of my weekly rentals. A lot of the movies I saw in theatres in the first six months of last year haven't even come out yet in the states ("Reinas", for example, which the blue states are just going to love because it's like "Love, Actually" but with a mass gay marriage, and features a number of hot actresses over 40 as the mothers of the affianced) so it was useful to keep track of them. I kept up the habit when I got home because it was blockbuster season (not that I saw most of the blockbusters, but that's neither here nor there).

Then I counted up at the end of the year and saw I had more movies than books on my lists (just barely more!).

I guess it's not that hard to understand. It can take a lot longer to finish a book than a movie, depending on the book (and the movie?), and sometimes watching movies is preferable (like when I'm trying to do something else). But I feel like I'm giving up if I let the books not matter as much to me, because I was very much a books-first teenager (I probably didn't see more than 5 movies a year in theatres until I started driving). But assuming I can't read and watch movies at the same time -- well, I can do class reading, anything that's meant to be skimmed anyway -- I can only do one of them, and I have library books but I also have Netflix.

All this blather means I should probably stop keeping lists if I'm going to look at them every day and obsess over them. But I'm thinking about cutting back on my Netflix account. My stack of books I want to read is piling up faster than movies I want to watch, and there's really no substitute for a good book.

03 April 2006

Books I brought with me on vacation.

This is for a one-week vacation with a four-hour flight, mind you:


So maybe the last one was a bit of a stretch... Needless to say, I guess, I made it through the first four, and started the Michel. Usually I read a lot more during vacations, but this time I spent most of my leisure time sleeping. I'm looking forward to being a commuter again so I'll "have to" read an hour, or more, every day. I'm also looking forward to graduating.