Thursday, July 3, 2008

Talking to myself/Flowers on the Wall

"RM w/a VW" continues the popular "Moving in with Elliot" Series. Today Elliot unpacks his five boxes and one open container full of books into an unorthodox, and yet popular, filing method.
Intrigued? Then stay tuned.
[Elliot gets his laundry out of the on-site dryer. Yes, there's a washer too. Don't be envious. It has a centipede. Maybe more.]
"I really admire John Dewey. The whole Dewey Decimal system. What an undertaking! I don't mean to imply that I'm an authority on all bibliotechnical things. For instance, I couldn't address how much flexibility there is in this system of his, but trying to do it myself makes me feel comparatively primitive.
"My approach has it's constrictions of course. I have no book shelves. So I've thrown alphabetical order out the window in favor of book width. And since floor space remains limited, I'm using a fairly broad definition of "non-fiction." I mean, I think we'll all agree that Louise Menand's The Metaphysical Club is non-fiction, but what about philosophy? I have The Prolegemana, Berkely's Hylas and Philonous Dialogues, Descartes' First Philosophy, and Locke's Second Treatise of Government all in the same pile. I don't think that simply saying one is non-fiction makes the rest are fiction, but you know how it is, contradiction is inevitable."
"The other piles are vain. One is books I've read. The other is books I intend to read. That short one is books it's been strongly suggested I read."
"A copy of the book was bought for me at the nearest acceptable occasion. I will never read those books. "
"The books that aren't filed are either a) comics or b) text books. As I was saying, I'm disappointed with this method, it's inflexible but it's aestheically appealling. Call it a series of vain indulgences. It'd be a different type of indulgence to buy a bookshelf. And I'd never be able to move the size of bookshelf I need. Though I suppose I could use my filing system on a series of small bookshelfs."

"Yes, I suppose that doesn't get us anywhere."

1 comment:

popquizkid said...

I am a big fan of shelving. You know - the kind that come with long, thin rows of tracking that you screw into the wall. You attach brackets to the tracks, and sit shelves on top of the brackets. It works well for me.

Although now that I think about it, you're probably not allowed to screw things into the wall?

I think your system would make my head explode. I will admit to having the occasional problem with using the alphabetization system (What if the book is anonymously written? Sure, I could file that in the "A"s, but that isn't entirely satisfying.), but I haven't found anything I like better.

I'm excited about putting up more shelving in my spare room, because I'll finally be able to separate my fiction from my non-fiction. I've never had room to do this before, and allowing them to intermingle has always bothered me.