It's easy to have a love affair with books. As a whole, they're a marvelous thing. Step back and look at the shelves of any library, public or private, and you see beauty . . . much like the view from an airplane can make any landscape a sight to see.
But when you get up close, and start looking at the individual tomes . . . well, there are just some books that you might wish you never met, some that just don't mean as much now as they once did, and some . . . some, you just wonder why you even have. Including some that have Sherlock Holmes in them.
I'm cleaning up my shelves this weekend, as I've reached a point in my life when all the excess baggage picked up over the years seems a little silly, and many a book is headed for 221B Con to find a new home with some younger Sherlockian who might find some joy in them.
My criteria for this particular purge was interesting . . . novels that I've had for over a decade that didn't leave a meaningful residue on my consciousness, good or bad. Some were well-written, lovely books that were fun to read at the time, but just didn't really seem like anything I would ever go back to, for reading or reference. Some I remember being bored with at the time, but they had such pretty covers or some other small redeeming quality. And some, I hate to admit, were just Sherlock shelf-filler.
On the other side of the coin are Sherlock Holmes books that left a negative impression, but that I'm keeping. Not sure if I'm holding them prisoner to keep them from inflicting their damage on other Holmes fans or just keeping them as a reminder of how wrong things can go, whether through amateur accident or the evil intent of the professional. They're like a rogues gallery of print.
So far I've filled two banker's boxes for this trip, and now I'm starting to work on some other aspects of the collection. Those 1980s were days of indiscriminate vacuum-collecting on the Sherlock Holmes front, and there are a lot of things that just need to wander out of my house and into the universe. Not because I love Sherlock Holmes any less these days, but because I know, eventually, I'm going to have to move it all yet again . . . and if you've ever moved massive amounts of books, you know there's a price you pay for those filled shelves.
And an avid reader's back does not tend to be a strong one . . . .