The (3-day) weekend is half way through, and I am already having so much fun. The train ride yesterday was beautiful, despite delays. Winter landscapes are very impressive, especially when they include frozen ponds and dead marshes, stark tree silhouettes and a hazy sunset… The camera was out of reach, but I doubt I could have captured the beauty anyway.

At home (northern headquarters), there was in-progress mess: the kind of mess created before it is all better. I played with L’s books. In the beginning, setting in order the books that came from his childhood-to-now book case felt a little too close to what I do at work, until I decided to turn it into a “how well do you know your loved one?” game.

Taking more of an archival than a library approach, I started by making piles of similar things. Easy – it is second nature to me. As I held each book, I found myself thinking of how it got to come to his possession, when, why, based on what interests at a certain time in his life. We do this for work processing anyway, but rarely have a way of confirming our guesses. It is the dream of any archivist to be able to have access to the life behind a collection, but in general I believe we are trained to zoom quite well into such details.

After a while, I started telling him what my guess was. Most of the books, he had acquired before we knew each other, and that was the challenge. I was happy to discover I nailed each and every one of them! 🙂 Even the one that made me think “What the hell is this doing here. It doesn’t fit him at all. I bet someone just gave it to him and he keeps it for sentimental reasons, with no intention of ever reading it.” Bull’s eye!

Skid was there helping, and gave her very definite node of approval to a book with a very cute story behind it:

Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur was a public library book, and L’s favorite book at 9th grade. After taking it out so many times when no one else cared for it, the librarian decided to de-accession the book and gave it to him. What a lovely gesture!

In the end, it all got into three major subject piles, and then arranged by size. Not a recommended classification system, but it certainly looks tidy!