I went on a packing blitz yesterday and have boxed up all the books I plan on taking. (I say ‘plan’ because there’s no certainty that all the books I want to take with me will fit in the U-box that will be delivered.) I even packed up the physical books I’m in the middle of reading because I didn’t want them to stray — especially the fourth volume of the Zelazny collection. It’s packed with its siblings, the entire set of seven books, with exclamation marks done in marker along the top to make sure it’s not missed. Each box is getting a letter-number code and brief details of what’s inside each box are recorded in an Evernote file. Because REASONS. This is how my brain works. It tricks me into thinking I have more control over this great event than I probably do. I’ve temporally pulled them from my GoodReads account, and selected two ebooks to read in the meantime.
Later today, my writing group is due to come over and look over the books I’m not bringing with me. Some of these are very good books, and it breaks my heart to see them go but go they must. Still, I can’t help but feel in a way that the whole thing has that gruesome smack of a post-funeral pickings. This should go to that person because they’d appreciate it, or that person would get a kick out of this. Yet I’m still here and these are still my things for at least a little while longer. Any book they decide not to take will get trundled off to the library to join other books of mine I purged nearly ten years ago when I gave up writing, though this time it will be mostly fiction I’m giving up.
There is a small set of books I still haven’t decided whether or not to take. You can see they have little yellow stickers, my maybe-markers, and they are old, old paperbacks. Four are by Monica Hughes, writing YA before it was the blockbuster marketing category that it is now, and my first entry into written science fiction as a child. Crisis on Conshelf Ten and The Isis Trilogy contained underwater settlements, far-flung space colonies, were populated by a diverse cast, and sparked that love of all things otherworldly in me — the first bleep in my cool-meter, set when I was around ten years old. Then we have The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey, the first book (I think?) I read where the main characters were both women, both friends, and facing an unfriendly world together. A proto-Xena and Gabrielle, now that I look at that cover. Then I have my Nivens, books that start not with a map but with diagrams showing the reader how the physics work. My brain really sparked on that as a kid and I loved those books, read in my tweens and early teens. I’d come to Ringworld first, and while there were no doubt other titles of his on the shelves, The Integral Trees hooked me because it was a woman on the cover, floating in space, dressed in green, and armed to the teeth. Then comes the Morgaine Saga, which I found by accident about eight years ago in the local used bookstore. I knew of Cherryh but hadn’t read any of her work yet. The Gate of Ivrel looked pulpy, but when I thumbed to the first page, the voice drew me and then the world filled my head and I burned through the series. So they are loved, these copies, but not just by me — and really, I should buy the Omnibus.
And I think I just talked myself into keeping them. Into the keepsake box they go.
In the meantime, I’m supposed to be putting my feet up after yesterday’s Herculean packing binge and taking advantage of my Sunday morning coffee and reading ritual. Instead, I sat in my chair and realized just how much that ritual involved me holding a physical book, usually a big one (like the Zelazny collection) I can’t lug around to work and back.
So instead I’m blogging, and planning the day. And grumpy. Looking at these old paperbacks makes me realize how much I miss these smaller books with the super dense type. No wonder I can read my ebooks so fast — the settings I have both my Kindle and Kobo are set to replicate that old look. Now, if I only I could make them heavy and awkward like the real thing …