Wednesday, 29 March 2006

spine-blindness

I know I have three copies of Pride and Prejudice. (I know it because LibraryThing tells me so.) Why, then, can't I lay hands on a single one of them? I've looked several times, and most times have managed not to instantly forget what book I was looking for, but to no avail.

Now I have to go down to the bookshop and buy another copy.

27 comments:

Glen Fuller said...

you've seen Twelve Monkeys, right?

;)

Glen Fuller said...

oh no! i meant:

you've seen Conspiracy Theory, right?

catcher becomes pride!

(yes, i am having my own twelve monkey experience attempting to explain the relation of futurity that Adorno sets up around the commoidty between exchange value and use value)

Glen Fuller said...

hmm, i think it may actually be a bruce willis moment.

Pavlov's Cat said...

What, you mean you don't know it by heart, like someone wandering around in the woods muttering at the end of Fahrenheit 451? "Truth universally acknowledged, single man, fortune, want of a wife. Due to an unaccountable prejudice in favour of beauty, he found himself the husband of a very silly woman. Mary, you have delighted us long enough. Oh, cried Elizabeth, I am excessively diverted! But it is all so strange!"

Lucy Tartan said...

What a nice summary. Please, can I tack on the end "Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?"

If you turn up to teach a class on a book, without holding onto a copy of the book, they all immediately jump out of their chairs and start running round on the tables, and not in a Dead Poets Society kind of way. Or so I've heard. But yes, you're right. I should have just downloaded a scanned book cover and wrapped it round a couple of Weetbix.

Same thing happened to me last year with both Persuasion and Washington Square. Fortunately it's only ever an issue with old, cheap books.

Have I mentioned to you that Fahrenheit 451 is like THE big movie of my thesis? Best adaptation ever, or near enough.

Ron said...

How long did it take you to catalogue 1,368 books?

That's the thing that stops me signing up: I don't want to spend the rest of my life cataloging and, like you, finding I have two or three copies of everything because I can never find a book when I want it.

ThirdCat said...

You have loaned all three copies to people like me who seem trustworthy (being ex-librarians and all), but are not. Write your name in your books - it doesn't guarantee their return, but it does at least embarrass people every time they open the book and see your name there.

PS my word verification is sloshpu
way better than the one I had at Pavlov's Cat's a few week's ago

Lucy Tartan said...

I haven't lent them, that's for sure. Everyone likely to want to read it already has a copy of their own, right?

Sometimes when my parents come and visit, my father steals some books. But probably not this one.

It took several sessions of a couple of hours duration to enter the ISBNs, Ron. Unless your book collection has lots of old / rare items it's pretty fast to enter books. The hard and dusty part is getting them off the shelves. The tagging took longer and might not ever be finished.

Lucy Tartan said...

I meant to add that you can try librarything for free - up to 200 books.

Ron said...

Oh ... what have you done to me? After commenting above, I signed up and have now added seven books and it's TOTALLY addictive: by the time I add a cover, check other members who have the same book etc etc

I hope one day I will find time to sleep again!

Ron said...

And I'm adding a tiny dot on the inside cover to indicate to myself that I've catalogued it. Do you do something similar?

Lucy Tartan said...

You're good at laying on the guilt trip aren't you Ron?? My only excuse is somebody did the same thing to me...I mean, got me hooked.

I wasn't smart enough to mark the books as I went. I went shelf by shelf. And I know I missed some.

It's fun finding out who else has copies of your favourites...and seeing what other books they have....and so on.

What ID have you chosen, if that's not too snoopy?

Ron said...

Murmurs

Sorry, can't stop to talk ... got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds more to catalog! ;-)

Rob said...

Good books get stolen. It's a fact of life. I've lost at least 20 copies of Lord of the Ring over the last 30 years :) I've also lost more copies of 'The wind in the Willows' than I can count; I don't mind. People steal them without knowing they steal. I seem to remember nicking a copy of the 'Go Between' recently on the same principle. Good literature propogates...

So when do we get Laura's view of Fahrenheit 451? I did my own rave about the movie a year or so ago on my blog but I'd be interested in reading yours. Oh, and I loved the movie - it was as good 30 years later as it was the first time I saw it.

kate said...

This is precisely why I ignored the laughter of my friends and partner and shelved everything in order. It's not Dewey, but I can find things for a change.

I once had to buy a second copy of Middlemarch because the first was in storage. It was easier to buy a new one than to retrieve the old one.

Ron said...

Some added guilt for you, Laura: I am now scanning covers when they are not available elsewhere.

What have you done to me?

Brownie said...

Laura - please tell me you have my letter with the cash in it?
Sent about 2 weeks ago.
I did email you to warn it was coming.
xxx

Pavlov's Cat said...

Dang, I forgot all about the shades of Pemberley. Please insert wherever you think appropriate.

I'll see your three copies of P&P and raise you six of Wuthering Heights. (See Kate's solution to the missing Middlemarch.)

I know I'll end up subscribing, but my current challenge is to choose which books I'd keep if I were only allowed to have 200.

Ron said...

TRACKBACK

whitebait said...

OMFG, this librarything is amazing. I may inadvertantly be revealing the Uluru-ic proportions of the rock that I have been living under lately but frankly I'm surprised that none of my recent editions of Anal Retentive monthly informed me of this wonder.

kate said...

to reveal my anal museums training here - what's the point of cataloguing things if you don't connect them to a shelf space?

in the end, if the shelves aren't orderly, no amount of cataloguing will help.

and as most of us leave our books in boxes/under the coffee table/on the floor beside the bed/in a handbag etc that can be a challenge.

Ron said...

I think it depends on how many books you own, Kate. I have so many now that I no longer know what I do have and a few times I have re-bought or borrowed books from the library that I already own. The cataloging should solve that problem.

A second benefit I am finding too is that the books and shelves are getting a good and belated dusting. My nose is tickling tonight from all of today's dust.

Apart from anything else, it's fun!

Val said...

I should have just downloaded a scanned book cover and wrapped it round a couple of Weetbix.

Hmm, I'll have to be on the lookout for this sort of thing in the library shelves.

So hands up, how many of us here are librarians or ex-librarians, or even should have been librarians?

Library Thing vs Endnote: if you have cheap/free access to the Endnote software (i.e. you work at a university), you can quickly and easily import library records, complete with subject headings, table of contents, AND you can still put in a graphic with captions, URLs etc. But no, you can't see who else has that book.

Lucy Tartan said...

Well you know I'm not a librarian, Val, but I do like libraries. (Genevieve from You Cried For Night is a librarian, I believe.)

I have to confess that I don't use Endnote. *covers head, ducks* I gave it a decent tryout but we just never hit it off. That was some time ago, so it might all be different now (I didn't know it was so easy to import library records. But by the time I tried it out I was already committed to my homemade biblio system.

Still don't know whether LT and Endnote are compatible.

Kate, you're absolutely right of course. No good ever comes of doing things half-arsedly. I guess the point of cataloguing is to pretend you're a librarian for a few brief blissful hours. I need a list of what I own (as opposed to have borrowed from the library) more than I need a record of where each item is to be found. The physical organisation of books in this house goes Phylum>colour Genus>size Species>genre. So all the white-spined books are shelved together, grouped by size, and then the novels are grouped separately from the plays, poetry, nonfiction etc. I can always remember the colour of a book I want, I hate the visual mess of multicoloured bookshelves, and I don't have that many books that it's really hard to locate what I'm after. Except when it matters...

Brownie, if you're still reading, I've only just figured out what's going on. Bills here get tossed in a pile and opened all at once on payday. Your letter was in the heap. Email to follow....

kate said...

Unless I could take the catalogue into the book shop with me, it wont stop me buying second copies of things I've forgotten I have. If I was unsure, and was inclined to check first (I'm a 'see a book, fall in love, buy it' kinda gal), I can find things quickly on my shelves. Unless it's one of the books Himself has moved on purpose to disrupt The System. Apart from those incursions, my books are divided into Fiction & Non-Fiction (Himself: that's Made Up & Real). The fiction is alpabetical, the collections of multiple authors are together with the poetry. The non-fiction is divided into cooking, history, art, politics, biography, reference and Other. Within art and history there are many divisions of period/style. I bought new, bigger shelves recently (see all the poorlycontrolled arguments about Ikea!) and went a little nuts refining my storage system now that everything is out of boxes.

This has all reminded me of Ex Libris, Anne Fadiman's reflections on books and reading. She begins with the story of merging her bookshelves with her husbands. For her (and him) it was the point when they were truly married, because they would never be able to divide the collections again.

Brownie said...

OMG Kate
'never be able to divide the collections again' - that is TRUE 'commitment', there should be something on it in the Marriage Vows.

Ron said...

This thread is long-forgotten now but it is one month you since you created the monster in me that could only be satisfied by cataloging my books at LibraryThing. At last I'm almost finished except for two bedrooms which I am going to do at my leisure. It's going to be so nice to finish the day and not have to shower just to declog the dust!