Happy July, all!
We are halfway through the ever-increasing mania that is 2020!
In the past few months of quarantining and distancing and pandemic-ing and whatever else, I moved home (partially in prep for what will hopefully be some Very Exciting Things once things start to level out!) which, unfortunately, also meant downsizing some of my shelves.
I thought it might be fun, having done this and now being halfway through the year, to perform a little bit of an owned-book audit to see what’s on my shelves, what I really reach for, and — the age old question — how many of the books I own have I actually read?
I would love to know if anyone else has done something like this recently! If you keep any of these numbers on hand or you see anything interesting in my numbers here, sound off in the comments!
All that said, let’s do this.
Total Books Owned: 77
So, this is a MASSIVE downsize from what I used to own. I, too, am one of those individuals who is inexplicably drawn to owning books. The beautiful cover art, the feel and smell of the paper, the underlining and dog-earing (a controversial topic, I know, so I won’t dwell on it!), I ADORE print books.
But, in moving and in preparation for the vaguely aforementioned potential life changes, I’ve needed to consider both what I’m spending on single-use items (ALSO controversial. I KNOW. I’m sorry.) and the need to adapt to smaller settings, I’ve been buying less and leaning a LOT more on E-Books from Libby!
I wish I’d counted my books before I sold/donated to move, but my best estimate would be that this is about one quarter of the books I owned three months ago.
Book Length — Over 300 pgs: 42; Under 300 pgs: 35
So, this was sort of a calculated number. There was a time a few years ago when it felt, to me, like authors and editors and publishers appreciated longer books more than shorter books. It seemed like everything coming out was over 400 pages, and I wasn’t convinced that everything I read was really ameliorated by those extra however-many pages. I’m a firm believer that quantity does not always equal quality! I decided that 300 pages seemed like an interesting reference point, and was pretty pleasantly unsurprised to see that this is split, for the most part, pretty evenly.
Book Category — Fiction: 70; Non-fiction: 7
This one is pretty self-explanatory! As I mentioned above, I’m trying to curb my spending on single-use products, which includes books I don’t think I’ll ever re-read, which, for the most part, is a lot of non-fiction. These certain non-fiction titles I keep around are a lot of C.S. Lewis philosophical titles that I tend to re-read as I grow and experience new things to discover how the same words can enlighten or affect me at different stages of my life!
Book Format — Paperback: 70; Hardcover: 10
A LOT of my downsizing casualties were my hardcover books, for a few reasons. Most prominently, those tended to be titles that I don’t think I’d ever reach for again. There are very few titles I tend to re-read; there are just SO MANY BOOKS in the world that I’d rather keep experiencing new things, but every now and then something really pops out as something I want to re-read and they, coincidentally, were mostly paperbacks.
I also have a book in my purse 100% of the time, which is just way bulkier with a paperback than a hardcover.
Special or Limited Editions: 12
I found this one quite interesting! In offloading a lot of my hardcovers, pretty much all of my Book of the Month editions went to libraries or other book lovers, so I was surprised to see that I still have twelve special editions out of 77 titles! That’s almost 16%! Quite a few of them are some absolutely stunning titles from the Macmillan Collectors Library that I stumbled upon at Barnes and Noble one day years ago and upon which I was absolutely fixated. If you’re unfamiliar with this gorgeous collection, here’s a copy of the Les Miserables (warning: it’s abridged! but not all from this collection are!) from this library:
Series Installations: 23
This one did not surprise me at all. I mentioned that part of my criteria while paring down my collection was keeping things on my shelf that I’d revisit, which, of course, were the Harry Potter books, the Narnia books, and the Lord of the Rings books. There a few other series installations I have on my shelves, as well, so it was not surprising at all that those added up so quickly!
Frequent readers will know that I am a singer and actor! I keep a lot of plays on hand as references and tools, and also because I just love them! MANY of them are Shakespeare, but there are quite a few Marlowes and Chekhovs mixed in, as well as some modern pieces.
Publish Date — Before 1950: 36; After 1950: 41
This date actually was arbitrary. I’m a big classics reader, but I also stopped buying a lot of titles that are now public domain because they’re easier to find online, but I just picked a random year that seemed like it might’ve been near the middle of everything own and I guess I wasn’t too far off!
Has anyone else done this kind of rundown of things you own? Tell me what your shelves look like!
Thanks for stopping by, and as always, happy reading!