January 2, 2011

OMG...I'm Done!

I apologize for being so lax as far as blogging is concerned, but my guess is that after tonight's entry, I may be going on an indefinite hiatus. After all, I'll be starting graduate school in two and a half weeks, and my prep for that - which includes learning PowerPoint and Excel, as well as buying school supplies - won't appeal to even stalwart readers. But I reserve the right to change my mind, and regardless, before signing off tonight, I'm going to share what I've been up to for the past week and a half.

Nearly three years ago a film crew came to my house to create a short film about my book obsession that kicked off Barnes and Noble's Book Obsessed online series. I wrote about the experience for AAR and included in my piece were photos of my study, which show every available bit of wall space taken up by bookcases, including the walk-in closet, similarly outfitted with floor to ceiling shelves (see photo second from bottom on right). As of today, the closet has been emptied of all books, all three bookcases (see the photo second from the top on the left) underneath the window have been removed, and an additional five shelves of two bookcases are now empty. It's the end of a major part of my life and the start of a new one, and in order to take my first steps on this new path I needed to reclaim the room.

My Study: Before (although there's no "after" for comparison)

After I left AAR, I rarely went into my study, using my laptop rather than my desktop in the den, kitchen, bedroom, living room, or at Starbucks. My study had become oppressive and a reminder of all the negativity of the final year at the site's helm. I vowed that before starting grad school on January 18th, I would be brutal in pruning my library, which included finishing my Kindle 3/Calibre project (in which I transferred my entire digital library, built up painstakingly over the past few years, after first organizing it via the Calibre program. Because I didn't want to get rid of any book I wanted a copy of - in digital or print format - I needed to take stock of everything.

On December 22nd, my daughter and I took seven brown grocery store bags to Half Price Books. By the day after Christmas, I'd already readied another 16 plastic grocery store bags, and on December 31st another 16 followed. At that point I thought I was done, but after actually taking stock of the remaining print books in preparation for organizing them in my library on far fewer shelves, I realized I was not finished. Right now another ten or so bags are ready to go, and I've reached my goal in organizing my print and digital libraries so that all of my DIK reads are accounted for either in print or on my Kindle. Ditto for all but one B+ read that got lost in the process. After locating a new copy on Amazon of Julie Moffett's The Thorn and the Thistle for a penny, plus shipping, I bought it.

I can't tell you what a tremendous slog this has been. I worked so hard yesterday and today in particular, only breaking to finish reading and reviewing a book for Publishers Weekly...and to almost finish a second book for the magazine as well (both reviews are due tomorrow). My back may be sore, but the sadness I started to experience after trading the first thirty or so bags has now morphed into a feeling of calm now that the work is done, and everything is so well organized. I feel as though my load is lighter, and can return to that room in the house without any remaining baggage.

I met my goal of finishing this weekend so that I'll have plenty of time to learn those two software programs I'll need for my two classes. A friend I met for a two-and-a-half hour cup of coffee (strangely enough, we had soup but no coffee) mid-week last week even offered some hands-on tutoring if I get stuck. I plan to give myself a full week, which will leave me with another week or so before classes start. With two more books to review by the day before the semester starts, I should have scheduled for all contingencies.

My guess is that I won't be doing much non-required reading for the foreseeable future, which also means a temporary end to my reviews for Amazon Vine. I plan to continue my PW reviews, but may have to cut back on books from two editors to one. I'll have a better idea after the semester starts and I get an idea of my workload, but it's doubtful that you all will find my course study terribly intriguing. I think it's going to be pretty dry stuff for the most part, but who knows? Either way, I'm ready, and waiting to start.



Debbie said...

Laurie, I for one will miss reading your thoughts on the blog, and would be interested in reading about the ups and downs of attending grad school after a prolonged absence. However, you must do what is best for you and your family. Congratulations and best wishes on your new adventure!

Laurie Gold said...

Thanks, Debbie. You may have a point. We'll see.