Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Before we marry, our books will marry

Okay, so getting Athalia to move in with me two months before the wedding is about as kosher as char siew at a Passover table. But I'll tell you what can move in. Her books.

And in fact, they have. A few nights ago, I lugged home one box of her books and began the task of consolidating her collection with mine. It's the kind of thing that makes me happy in the pits of my stomach.

I mean, it's not just a practical act of putting belongings in the same place. No, it's a quasi-union of the works that shaped our minds. It's a marriage of two families of thinkers and authors - hers, from her shelf, with mine, on mine.

The books on my shelf are divided into genres and filed alphabetically from left to right. I've got Fiction on the top shelf and General Christianity on the second shelf. The third shelf houses a mix of Philosophy, History and Christian reference while the fourth has the artier categories: Music, Films, Theater, Poetry, Travel and Football. The fifth shelf has General Reference and Language.

From among the first few of her books, I'm confronted by the need to create new categories. I had pulled out from her box a book that can only be classified as Inspirational. I swear, I've never owned an "inspirational" book in my life. Where does it go? In terms of mood, it'll find the most friends on the Christianity shelf, but it's not a Christianity book. It's just good old-fashioned Inspirational. Okay, create a new one-book category.

Next comes a bunch of fictions and suddenly I meet another pair of books for which there is no existing grouping: a book by writers about writing, and the journal of a writer's jottings. I guess I could put them with the languages but they're not really about language but about ideas and writing. Hmmm... ok, another new category. Nice - now we've increased in breadth.

But it's not just the new genres that matter. It's the enrichment of the existing ones too. My fiction shelf is all the more cultured for it. Now, somewhere between my fixations for Calvino and Eco is a Roald Dahl. One shelf below, between the church-enforced purchase of Rick Warren and a Ravi Zacharias now quaintly sits a Yancey number. (More Yanceys will follow when the other boxes arrive!)

One more shelf below, right next to my copy of Plato's Republik is ... her copy of Plato's Republik. Yes, what do we do with the repeat titles? Leave them both there? Hide one? Give one away? What if both have sentimental value? Mine's a birthday gift from Ernest. Hers, she bought with me when we had just started dating and was not presumptuous enough to imagine this day would come. Elsewhere, Jewel's anthology of poetry is also repeated, uncorroborated, as are the first two books of the Narnia series (I have the first two, she has the whole set).

Mind you, this is just the first box. There are many more boxes. I've had to move Travel and Football down to the fifth shelf to make space for the rest. Once the other boxes come in, I'll need two rows for Fiction alone and that's gonna send the Christianity books into a diaspora so extensive, they'd think the Babylonians had returned.

Of course, all of this is a good problem to have. And as I add more of her books into my shelf, the metaphor becomes clearer and clearer - marriage is gonna absolutely kickass, not because it's addition but because it's amalgamation. So, for now, books. Yes, just books. Keep it kosher.

15 comments:

Athalia said...

I'm not sure if putting in Roald Dahl among your Calvino and Eco can be said to make your fiction shelf more cultured, hehe. If anything, it makes it more...low-brow?

I should have passed you my serious, credible books first! Now the first impression everyone has is I collect inspirational books.

Okay, being vain here. I'll stop.

|e|L|L|i|s| said...

Like! :)

NickTay said...

Awe...Love this post :) Me thinks you should keep both books. So if you have two kids, they each can inherit a copy of Plato :)

Genusfrog said...

Nick: Yes! That accounts for why Thay is walking away from her house with so many books. Her mum buys all their books x4.

Thay: Nopes, I disagree. I view Dahl very highly! Also, there was only one inspirational book. Hehee.

Yes, world. Thay has lots of fascinating books that I can't wait to consolidate. All the Chaim Potoks are already in. Pure love.

eevon said...

my favorite post of all! now the goal is not to marry just anyone...it's to make sure mine and his books can marry too. of course, let's look for a 'him' first. hahaha...

<3

Athalia said...

Nick: what if we have more than two kids?

Eevon: I wanted to ask Fergs: "Our books are getting married? Who's officiating? Did they finish PMC? Where's their wedding planner????"

Genusfrog said...

Vernon accused me last night of intellectual fornication. Hahahaa!

oomoo said...

Go Eco! Go Calvino! Go Dahl!

Genusfrog said...

Last night, I added "Hawking, Stephen" to my one-book category of Science. I tell you, this girl is full of surprises.

Jeanie said...

Would your clothes be marrying too?

Genusfrog said...

not yet. we don't even have a cupboard yet!! ahahhaha!

Nick Tay said...

If you guys have more than 2 kids, then the 3rd will have to fight a duel with the first 2 to see who gets what! Chances are they will like different topics anyways!

Genusfrog said...

That's true. Either that or we can use it as an excuse to BUY MORE BOOKS NOW! Ok, I see my bias here. I want to buy cheaper cleaning products and more repeats of the same book. Bad Fergus.

Ernest said...

OMG, you guys actually read. It is not very apparent from the conversations we've had. Keep up tha gud work.

Athalia said...

Actually, the books are only for show. Don't they look impressive?

  © Blogger templates Brooklyn by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP