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Size Does Matter

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What’s the largest your personal library has ever been? What’s the greatest number of books you’ve ever owned at one time? (Estimates are fine.) Is your collection NOW the biggest it’s ever been? Or have you down-sized? What’s the fewest number of books you’ve ever owned (not counting your pre-reading years)?

My current book collection is larger than ever, with an estimate of 1250 volumes, most of which are trade paperbacks, with a handful of oversize art and history pictorials. The constant buying binge—library sales, online purchases, and books acquired from travel (I have bought 16 books from Shakespeare & Co. here in Paris) has outstripped the effort to weed out books. Since I graduated from college, the size of my personal library has grown exponentially, as I have enjoyed more leisure to read and financial stability to buy. The mini collection that I maintained as an undergraduate had just under 100 books. They were required readings for English and literature courses.

As per Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore, this is the haul:
Saturday   Ian McEwan (finished and reviewed)
Skippy Dies   Paul Murray (finished and reviewed)
The City of Your Final Destination   Peter Cameron
The Rules of Engagement   Anita Brookner
Rules for Old Men Waiting   Peter Pouncey
Women in Love   D.H. Lawrence
A Handful of Lust   Evelyn Waugh
Ragtime   E.L. Doctorow
The House at Riverton   Kate Morton
The Virgin Suicides   Jeffrey Eugenides
The Moviegoer   Walker Percy
Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand
How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read   Pierre Bayard
Handbook of Effective Writing   Robert Hamilton Moore
Impressionism   Belinda Thompson
Paris from the Ground Up   James H. S. McGregor

Thanks to two-piece luggage allowance, the books and bottles of wine can be packed up in a box to count for one checked bag. Size does matter, library- and luggage-wise!

12 Responses

  1. what a wonderful haul you picked up in paris! :-)my library is about the size of yours..and growing!

  2. No matter how many books I have, I would definitely buy books from Shakespeare and Company for the same reason I buy books whenever I can from City Lights. There are some places you just need to say you have books from! :–)

    • That is exactly my sentiment. I knew I could have easily acquired these books at home, but since I was there, at the Shakespeare & Co., made renowned by all the writers who were associated to it, I felt I had to leave my mark there. So here you go. 🙂

  3. Thank goodness for being able to ship books home, right??

    • I have long considered the possible haul I will acquire from the bookstore. To be mindful of also gifts and souvenirs I have to bring home, I packed light outbound. I’m right. 🙂

  4. Excellent haul! I was pleased to see Shakespeare & Co. in the movie Midnight in Paris.

    • Ah…I still haven’t seen the movie. I was busy getting ready for the tip and missed the film. I have to go watch it now that I’m home from the whole Parisian experience. 🙂

  5. OMG, while you are overseas no less! I get the stink eye if I even try to go book shopping when I’m traveling. (I only came home with TWO). I have no idea how many books I have, but I am very much out of bookshelf space and I’m double stacking. But I can’t stop.

    • Once a book person, always a book person no matter where you go. How can you not pop into the bookstore and see what they carry? I simply couldn’t resist that curiosity and temptation. I have begun double stacking until I bought a few shelves and fixtures from Borders.

  6. You have a lot of books and I am quite sure that your library will continue to expand!

    • Kathleen, I buy what I see. Often time I buy books that I know I won’t read for a long time, but knowing I don’t own the book, I would still buy it.

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