I spent another hour typing titles into my Goodreads account and then further organizing my books on my shelves...
As painful as this exercise has been (and will continue to be during all my free time in the next day or two, it seems), it comes at the right time (before I buy any more books) and it has been really, really useful.
For one thing, I realize that I need to be much more strategic about the books I actually buy (even though I've gotten many of the books I have now at .69 cents a piece with one out of every five free at the thrift store). I'm not sure what my complete book-buying strategy will be, exactly, but I have had time to come to a few conclusions:
First, I think I will start focusing on the lists of books or publishers that I admire the most (like Five in a Row or Usborne), become even more familiar with the titles and be able to recognize them when I see them on the shelves at thrift stores or in piles at yard sales. These types of collections are vetted and worth having.
Next, I realize now that I can't collect every Nancy Drew or Boxcar Children book. I was given some of these by a friend and as much as it would satisfy that inner perfectionist to own all of them and see them in a neat little line on my shelves, I don't have enough shelf space for all of them. In fact, I don't even have space for half of them! So, in cases like The Boxcar Kiddos and Nancy You-know-who, I believe I will own the first book in that famous series and if Norah wants to read the rest of the books, she will have to check them out from the library one by one.
And, finally, I realize I need to be more flexible about the books I buy. Buying a book is not like buying parrot. It doesn't have to be a life-long commitment. So, with that in mind, I have come to the conclusion that I may buy some books now (for .69 cents each with every fifth one free) because it will be nice to own them now, only to turn around and sell them at a garage sale in a year when I am done with them... and this is okay.
This is okay.
This will be okay.
So, I have even started making a pile of books to remove from my shelves altogether (like the Boxcars, Nancy Drews, and Animals Arks you see in the photo at the top of this post). As of right now, I have plenty of room for these books on my shelves. They could just sit there in case I ended up wanting them. My shelves aren't too full by any means. But, I feel like purging is a step in the right direction, in general, since I am trying to start only "keeping the ones worth keeping."
Figuring out the books that are worth keeping, well, that's the trick and I think that's probably something I will be working on for years and years and years. I admit I may be thinking way too hard about this whole thing, but that would be nothing new. My husband accuses me of thinking too hard all the time.
But, for now, anyway, I'm really satisfied that I finally have a working relationship with my bookshelf and that I am have a better sense of what I'm actually doing with my books. I am not just buying as many as I can afford. After days of typing in titles, I have become more definite about the ones I will keep, the ones I will want to buy and the ones I will just let pass by.