I used to be a big ol’ book collector. I had thousands. But my collection has been whittled down over the years to just about one hundred books, mostly reference books. I hadn’t really considered blogging about this change until, following my previous post about Jim Thompson, a friend asked if he could borrow my copy of The Killer Inside Me. But I don’t have a copy anymore.
I had the entire collection of Black Lizard Press Jim Thompson novels, not to mention many other Black Lizard editions. The collection took about three years to accumulate. I dragged it with me for three or four years, through two cross-country moves, and then one day I decided to liquidate the whole thing at Moe’s Books. I didn’t even get trade, just cash money. Perhaps it was an appropriately noir ending for a series of bleak novels about lust and betrayal, but these were beautiful editions, and there wasn’t really a good reason why I got rid of them.
But there was a reason and, no joking, it had to do with feng shui. Let me see if I can explain.
The first collection I liquidated was my Stephen King collection. I did that while I was still in college. Part of growing up, I guess.
Then I graduated from college and got rid of all the college books that had been overflowing my shelves since freshman year. I made a heck of a lot of money selling those books and maybe got a taste for it. I don’t know.
When I moved to Montana, I finally pulled the trigger on most of the rest of the books I’d held onto. And when I moved back, I got rid of just about everything else, except Thompson.
That was supposed to be it. I had taken the book collection down to the minimum. I wasn’t going to get rid of anything else. But then this coworker of mine loaned me her feng shui books.
It turned out the Thompson shelf violated feng shui in two ways: It was my biggest single-author collection, about 30 books in all, and they were collecting a lot of dust and who knows what kind of microorganisms. Worse, these novels are dark, vile rants as hard to forget as they are to put down. They are guaranteed to leave you disturbed.
And when I learned that having something in your house that collects dust and disturbs you, no matter how beautiful it may be, is the very definition of bad feng shui, I decided to let them go.
Sometimes, like tonight, I get wistful, but as least my house doesn’t look like this.