Well, isn’t that nice?

I’ve just been alerted to the fact that my story, “Painlessness”, has gained yet another accolade.  It’s received an Honourable Mention in The Year’s best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2009 Edition, edited by Rich Horton and published by Prime Books. Looking through the list of the other HM authors published on Fantasy Magazine’s blog, it’s safe to say I’m in amongst some very fine company indeed!

“Painlessness” will also be reprinted in the Brimstone Press anthology, Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror Vol. 4, due out in March 2010 and available for pre-order now. I’ve read a lot of the other stories to be featured in that volume, and can highly recommend them. You definitely want this book on your shelf.

Speaking of books and shelves, we have to move house in the new year and I’m suffering my usual bout of Too Much Stuff Anxiety. Most of the stuff is books. Including books which I’ve had for years and haven’t yet managed to read. And books that I have read but which I know I will never so much as look at again. Do I really need all those books? Those stacks of dead, dust-hoarding tree-flesh? For the last couple of years, I’ve been toying with an idea I call The 100 Books Project. It would mean culling my collection down to a mere 100 books and keeping it that way. An old book would need to be removed for a new one to be added. It doesn’t mean I stop reading, just that I stop owning. I would have to borrow more books, or give away the ones I buy after reading them unless they were good enough to oust a volume from the current 100.

Only 100 books. For the rest of my life. Part of me finds the idea absolutely liberating — as Tyler Durden says: “The stuff you own, ends up owning you.” Most of me, however, is still terrified by the thought of re-housing all my books. I love those books. They’re a huge part of my life. And yet, and yet …

Clearly, I’m not quite ready for The 100 Books Project.

But I have come up with a stop-gap. Starting right now, every new book I bring into the house will mean I need to send one of my current books away. Okay, so I’m not culling the number of books I own right now, but I am maintaining the status quo. It seems the only sensible way to proceed, lest I find myself living in a labyrinth constructed entirely of overflowing bookcases at some point in the non-too-distant future. Maybe, in a year or so,  I can work my way up to culling two old books for each new one. Maybe.

Today my much-anticipated copy of X6 arrived from Coeur de Lion. I am looking forward to reading this book so much, it’s going to jump the queue of all the other new books I’ve acquired in the past month. It’s getting read next, right after I finish Palimpsest by Catherynne M Valente. But I digress.

X6 arrived, and Tolstoy’s War and Peace was promptly relegated to the discard pile. I felt so much better. You know, I think this is going to work.

3 Comments

  1. Wow, I couldn’t face culling my collection down that far! You’re a brave soul. Would this 100 books include your brag shelf, any small-press mags & chapbooks, that sort of thing? Or just 100 “I’m purely gonna read and re-read these” books?

    I thought I did alright getting it down to 300 or so, and that was painful.

    This is a very interesting idea though. It’s all too easy to drown in one’s ephemera.

    • Argh. You see, therein lies the problem. I would have to exclude my brag shelf (not books surely, so much as … trophies?). Magazines and chap books surely wouldn’t count either. Hmm, then there’s the problem of non-fiction/reference books. Are they in the 100 or not? Even with all these exclusions, just 100 fiction books is daunting. I mean, Steven Bloody King would eat up half that right away. Nope, not ready yet. But the keep-one-toss-one based on the current amount seems a reasonable first step.

  2. I think culling it to 100 *boxes* sounds reasonable… Of course, then you’d have to decide what size of box qualifies as “a box”, but still. Much more feasible.🙂


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