I'm getting ready to move house at the moment. Some of my things have gone to a friend's place to be stored for a few weeks, which presented me with a bit of a dilemma - which books to keep with me?
I can't keep them all. So that meant hard choices. The reference books have to stay, of course. I can't write without the dictionary and thesaurus, the mythology and history books, and the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook. But beyond that anything's up for grabs. Do I keep the Stephen King and store the Guy Gavriel Kay, or the other way around? Store the Sheri S Tepper? Keep the Iain M Banks?
You learn a lot about your preferences when it comes to the crunch. All the Robert Jordan went into boxes, which is a shame, because I loved Wheel of Time for the first six volumes or so. It went very flat then, tailed away, which was disappointing. But all my Terry Brooks stayed with me, and that's odd because I think Brooks is very derivative, with narrative like treacle. Badly written versions of other people's work, really. Did I keep him because it's just so long since I read it? Or was I by that stage so panicked by losing loved books (for a few weeks, anyway) that I was just throwing them into the Pack/Keep piles at random?
Rhetorical question, that. I was in a terrible tizzy.
I don't like being without my books. Any of them, really. I'm the sort of chap (like most writers, I think) who believes there's no such thing as too many books, just not enough shelves. I don't lend out my books except in very exceptional circumstances, and even then instruct the borrower to avoid chocolatey fingerprints and folded page corners, and leave the book out of direct sunlight so the pages don't turn yellow. I am, in short, a bit of a book bore.
And you know, I'm not going to apologise for that.