A Voyage of Rediscovery

So I’m hoping to write an article that uses Charles Sander Peirce’s “The Fixation of Belief” as a bit of a starting point. So, Sunday, I faced a dilemma: Read it online or spend an hour scouring the Nogglestead library’s to-read shelves for a copy of The Essential Peirce that my beautiful wife gave me for Christmas nearly twenty years ago.

So, of course, I opted to go through my library.

I kind of remembered having seen it on the leftmost shelves in my office, so I started there.

I hoped it would not be on the second set of shelves, which broke eight years ago (!) and that I have not replaced. Instead, another of the shelves has broken to irrepairable levels, and I’ve stacked books on books so that the lowest remaining shelf (not the bottom) is actually held up by the books on the bottom shelf. The stacks on that shelf are the height of two missing shelves, which is to say about three feet. So I saved that bit for last.

I only had one martial arts weapon fall on me as I searched, a practice (wooden) kama. Here’s what it looks like:

I provide this image as a public service so you won’t go performing an Internet search on “kama” only to discover that the kama also means sexual desire and longing in Hindu and Buddhist literature which means a lot of art of scantily clad Indian women. That link goes to Wikipedia, but the entry also is probably not safe for work. Assuming any of you are at work during the current unpleasantness. The research for this part of the post cost me another hour, by the way.

If only I was looking for William James’ work on Pragmatism, I would have found it in no time at all as it’s atop the books stacked on the floor.

If I were looking for The Will to Believe, which I read twenty-ish years ago (and probably six or eight years after it was assigned to me in college), I would have found that pretty easily, too. When we first moved into Nogglestead, I organized the shelves with the books I’ve read pretty well. In the decade since, the organization has fallen off as I’ve moved bookshelves around and later had to jam books wherever they fit. But traces of the organization would probably have made it easy to find. As an experiment, after writing the preceding, I went to my to-read shelves and found it in about four minutes. It was next to Nature Noir which I read in 2006 and just mentioned a week and a half ago comparing it to something else I ordered from ABC Books. On the other side: We Can’t Go Home Again by Clarence E. Walker, the very first book I reported on for this blog in 2003.

If only I were looking for Kant, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Jung, or a Neibuhr, I would have found something much earlier as I have multiple volumes by those hoity-toityish authors. You know, it might be handy to group them together, but I don’t have a lot of room to work with here, and that’s a project for another day or days.

I have a lot of books on how to do software testing, which I could probably read if I want to get into that line of work. I think I have actually read three in total (maybe just two: How to Break Software and How to Break Software Security). I have certainly started and abandoned any number of books on testing. Which are still on the to-read shelves to this day.

I probably own more David Morrell books than anyone else besides David Morrell himself. I read First Blood and First Blood Part II in 2008, and I liked them well enough to pick up other books of his as I’ve come across them. I haven’t read any since then, however.

I found in my office a book called More Book Lust; I was surprised and delighted to find I owned the original, which I found in the book shelves in the hallway. I did not think to group them, although I did put Foxfire 3 between Foxfire 2 and Foxfire 4. I spotted a couple other things that I should have grouped: The Heechee novels that my beautiful wife bought me for Christmas after I read Gateway in 2013 have scattered amongst the book shelves in my office; there’s a Ross Thomas paperback floating around in the hallway where two or three are together in my office; and Alice in Wonderland in the Children’s Classics edition rests in the hallway whilst Black Beauty, Hans Brinker, Heidi, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in the same series are on the bottom shelf of the collapsed bookshelves in the office (and are dutifully holding up their brethren).

I have two copies of Lady Chatterley’s Lover: One in an omnibus of Lawrence’s work and one in a paperback that features an essay about the censorship of the novel. So, of course, as they are not the exact same edition, I cannot get rid of one. Although when I read one, I suppose I can move the other to the read shelves so long as I read that essay. If I remember. I might well forget an read the book again, although that’s a greater risk with genre fiction.

I did find, though, that I have made enough gaps in selecting and rearranging books that I was able to get all of my recent purchases from ABC Books onto the shelves. The History of Civilization series and the books atop it, as well as the ones I inherited from my aunt recently, have no home on the shelves yet.

And I did go through the stacks on the collapsed shelf, but I did not find the book I was looking for. So I started again, and as I stood books that had been stacked on the out-facing rank of books onto their edges, I found it.

I had remembered it with a blue cover, which is probably why my eyes skipped over the tan spine the first time. But it was approximately where I thought it was.

And it was an hour later that I found it.

All the time I had allocated in the day for reading “The Fixation of Belief” and starting the thing I wanted to write were lost to the search for the book and this blog post. So I’ll have to take that up another day.

But I’ve rediscovered a lot of cool books that I want to read, so I should spend a little more time actually reading than sitting at the computer here, refreshing my favorite blogs and Facebook and researching kama.

So if you’ll excuse me.

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