The Maniac Collector's Inbox
Sherlocking in Canada
Okay, I know, there seems to be some kind of theme going on here. What’s up with me and Canada, eh? I did leave our gracious neighbor to the north and spent last week working in Marshall, Texas. Marshall, as far as I could tell, had zero amount of Sherlockian activities to offer and as a result there was absolutely nothing fitting to write. Whoa, you say, ‘nothing fit to write’ so what about something unfit to write? Sorry, nothing there either.
What I did accomplish during the few days I was home was just short of amazing. I had some shelving in my library reconstructed in order to better accommodate all of my books. Originally when I had my upstairs library built, I had two sets of shelves more narrowly spaced so that paperback books would be a perfect fit. At the time I did not allow for the growth that has occurred. I needed the shelves spaced further apart to allow a wider range of book sizes to fit. Once the shelving project was complete, I undertook the next big library project.
This was the organization of the rest of my books. My foreign language books are in immaculate order. Beginning with Afrikaans, they are alphabetically and chronologically ordered. They are followed by the Canonical tales, also in A and C order. These are further organized by individual Canonical tales and then the collected tales, roughly following the divisions in De Waal’s. Next is my collection of journals newsletters, magazines, etc. This is where the organization stopped. Higher criticisms and pastiches were mixed together and in no special order. Lucky for me that I keep painfully good records. I have a database that is broken down into various categories so I could follow this to put things the way they needed to be and this is precisely what I did.
I soon discovered I had started a project that was larger that I had originally anticipated. According to my database, there were 451 books under the title writings on the writings and another 858 books under the title pastiche. Roughly 1,500 books needed to be pulled off the shelves, stacked in some kind of organized fashion and then alphabetized and put back on the shelf. Again, this is exactly what I did. I created two sets of dividers from A to Z and started with the writings on the writings, making twenty-six separate piles. As a factoid, H’s had the tallest stack. Once this task was completed, I replaced all of these books on the shelving. Now if I need to pull Vincent Starrett’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, I know where to look. Not only is it there but so are all three copies and I can decide which edition I want. Do I want the 1960 University of Chicago edition, the 1970 Pinnacle edition or the 1971 AMS edition? This organization was long over due.
I repeated the same process for the pastiches with the same results. I now have a database with everything in my library in it but I now have the physical library to match. I found only three book that were duplicated. This was because there were spelling errors or the same book listed differently. I was also able to repair some of the plastic around some books and replace labels that had been damaged over the course of years.
So you ask, how does this relate to Canada? Well, because of my massive organizing project, I had something to write about early this week and next week, Joyce and I are off to Seattle and Vancouver for our 10th anniversary. How about that, eh?
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