The stack

I got rid of my books a few years ago in a total home decluttering. This was at the thin end of the massive wedge that smartphones were becoming, and I was no longer reading much. Too distracted.

And besides, I live in a very small house. Why cover the walls with bookcases? Anything I might want to read, I could get as ebooks or audiobooks, which magically took up no space at all.

Having grown up with an antiquarian book-dealer and a librarian, I’d had my fill of “the smell of books” and the “tactile experience of holding a book in my hands.” Bah. Out they went: the novels I wasn’t going to re-read, the deep college-era classics that I certainly wasn’t going to open again, the how-to books for crafts I was done with, the cookbooks (I mean, the internet is full of recipes, right?).

And I held the line for years. Every book that survived that massive decluttering could fit on a couple of shallow shelves behind my bedroom door.

Until Story Grid. Dammit, Story Grid, I did not see you coming.

Being a Story Grid editor requires wide reading in fiction genres I’ve never touched before. Besides, there’s my new novel to be researched. And my current novel to be marketed.

Suddenly I’m ordering two-dollar “Acceptable” used copies of old tomes about the art of narrative (they have that smell). I’m stopping at every Little Free Library in the neighborhood to see what treasures I can snatch. I’ve even opened an Interlibrary Loan account at my local branch library–and I use it. Every week.

I’m gonna need a new bookshelf.

A tall stack of books on a stool in my living room
The To Be Read pile