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Pickle Me This

February 1, 2010

Meet the Smiths

I’ve got a family of Smiths on my bookshelf. Probably you do too. Mine are diverse but an excellently harmonious bunch. There’s Ali, of course, of The Accidental and Girl Meets Boy. And then Alison, of the poetry collection Six Mats and One Year. Next is Betty, who wrote A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Beside her is Ray, then Russell, and Zadie, who have brought to the library Century, Muriella Pent and White Teeth/On Beauty, respectively.

This is the largest clan in my library, save for the Mitfords who don’t actually count because they’re really sisters. And I’m not sure if this bunch is alike or unhappy in their own way, but I like how their jackets rub together anyway.

10 thoughts on “Meet the Smiths”

  1. patricia says:

    How funny. I had recently reorganized my books in my library, and noticed the same thing. I am not as Smith-heavy as you, though. I've just got Ali, Russell and Zadie. It is comforting to look at those books. And your photo is lovely!

  2. Kristin says:

    I love that you (and Patricia) organize your books by author! My system is a little more…disorganized? My favorite books are all kind of grouped near each other and then everything else is just a mess. So maybe calling it a system is a bit of a stretch. I will blame my 3 year old for constantly taking the books off of the shelves that he can reach and piling them up. Apparently they make perfect loads for his dump truck.

  3. Kerry says:

    Kristin, Patricia and I have both worked in libraries. And old habits die hard. I expect to have my daughter cataloguing her collection by her first birthday.

  4. Kristin says:

    I worked in libraries too, all through high school and college, that's partly what is so funny to me about this post and my reaction to it. AND my mother and sister are both librarians. Yet…it never occured to me to organize my own books thusly.

    Speaking of working in libraries (and being related to librarians), I think this upbringing has ruined me for actually buying books. My first thought is always that I can get it at the library, and I only buy a book if I'm dying to read it and the hold list is too long, or if I have read it and loved it so much that I needed to own it. Which I recognize is a really terrible attitude for someone who wants to support authors! But I can't get over it!

  5. Melwyk says:

    Hmm, I am a librarian currently and yet my own books are not very organized at all — maybe I'm just getting too much organizing all day long! (my husband, a former librarian, has all of his books neatly organized, it is just my 3 shelves which are a jumble)

  6. patricia says:

    Er…well, I must confess that not ALL of my books in our house are so well organized. In the bedroom I've just got piles on the night table. And I've actually got a couple of small piles on the floor in my library, because, well, I ran out of shelf space. I'm forever fighting with the husband for precious shelf space. Oh, and yes, the husband works for the Toronto Public Library, and my mother is a librarian for the Mississauga library. Hands up who else has a library career connection!

    Kerry – I'd love to read a future post about working in libraries. Oh, the stories I could tell! Oh and speaking of stories, have you read 'In the Stacks: Short Stories About Libraries and Librarians'? Lovely. I must read it again.

  7. Buried In Print says:

    Oh, definitely "the largest clan in my library" too (love the way you put that). We have the same copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and I have a couple of other Smiths too: Dodie, Emma, Helen Zenna, Jeff, Lee, Stevie and Susannah. Guess it makes sense when you think about it, but it hadn't occurred to me to look for lineage: thanks for the fun!

  8. patricia says:

    Who ever said the name 'Smith' was boring!

  9. Kerry says:

    And whoever said librarians were boring, organizing our personal libraries this way and that. THE FUN NEVER STOPS!

  10. Genevieve says:

    The rest of Betty Smith's books are marvelous too: Joy in the Morning, Maggie-Now, and Tomorrow Will Be Better. Joy in the Morning is semi-autobiographical.

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