Big Snows Demand a Big Project

After spending the better part of five days inside, I started going a little crazy, yesterday. I decided that it was time to start a project that I have been thinking about for a very long time. That project is to arrange all of our books in Library of Congress Call Number Order. This project has been very daunting to begin, because I don’t even know how many books I have, but it is well in the thousands. For a long time, my books were in alphabetical order. Then, I divided them into fiction/non-fiction and tried to keep them in alphabetical order by author. After too many moves, that system fell apart. What I decided I really needed to do was put them in call number order and yes, put their call number on the spine. I really have become that much of a library nerd.

Yesterday, I started gathering a few books and got underway with the new challenge:

Fortunately, most books have their Library of Congress call number on the back of the title page. The ones that didn’t I had to look up in the Library of Congress, which added another layer of tediousness to the project. Once I found the call number, I started to arrange them in stacks by call number:


This may sound like an entirely tedious project. But it actually became very fun. When I went to the Adams’ Stone Library at Peacefield, I loved hearing the stories about how they were still finding notes that the Adams family had written and stuck in the thousands and thousands of volumes. I love that, because I do that too. Revisiting all of my books this way has reminded me of some great thoughts and great moments.
For example, not at all ironically placed in the pages of one of my volcano books, Agents of Chaos, were fliers for one of the Mardi Gras parties that I threw with my roommates in Provo:


I also got to reread inscriptions in books given to me as gifts. Out of Africa was given to me by my dear friend Suzanne as a Christmas present our freshman year of college:


For better or worse, the books in my life have defined my life. This project gives me a chance to revisit them all, like old friends.
And people wonder why I have no interest in a Kindle or e-book reader. You cannot duplicate this experience on one of those gadgets.

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