Boxing up the books

I've abandoned my original plan to spend this weekend doing a triage pass on Peter's books to get rid of a bunch of them before shipping them to my place; instead, I'm boxing them all up to mail, and I'll sort them at my leisure at home. This is partly because the weekend isn't long enough to sort through 'em, partly because there are more of them that I want than I thought, and partly because it was easier (when I was starting to sort them) to put the "keep" pile into a box than to spread it out on the ground.

Unfortunately, the local UPS stores don't have enough boxes of the sizes I want. Well, one of them does, but I found that one by phone (after calling three other UPS stores, each of which said "Yeah, we've got that size--oh, not today, but we can order it for you" and then gave me the number of another store to try) only 20 minutes before they closed today, and they were almost all the way across the city from me, and they're not open tomorrow, and I won't have time Monday to pack another 20 boxes of books. So my first priority on Sunday will be trying to find a store that's open and has either 14" cube boxes or 16"x16"x12" boxes.

I've been using 16" cube boxes, which are scored in such a way that you can cut along the edges and turn them into 16"x16"x12"s, which is what I've done. I tried filling a couple of the full 16" cubes with books; the result was 65-pound boxes, a little too heavy for me to easily carry, and possibly a little too big for me to easily get to the post office on Monday. So I started cutting them down to 12" high. I should probably reconsider that, though; I won't need as many boxes if I use full 16" cubes.

I think there's a total of about 55 cubic feet of books. I'm gonna need at least another 15 boxes. Thank goodness for the "media mail" postage rate (formerly known as fourth class book rate).

Many of the books I've looked at so far are still smoke-damaged, but they no longer strongly smell of smoke. Some of them have gotten damp from prolonged quasi-exposure to the elements, despite Jordan's kindly covering the boxes with a waterproof tarp; I suspect that a few of the books (conceivably as much as 5%, but probably a lot less) will turn out to be too badly damaged to be worth keeping. I feel bad about that, especially 'cause Jay's been reminding me for quite some time to deal with this. Oh, well; none of these books are all that important to me. I'm just glad we were able to rescue some of them.

I don't know what I'm going to do with them at home; I'll need a lot more bookshelf space if I want to put them on shelves. I doubt libraries and used bookstores will want the smoke-damaged ones.

There are a whole lot of digest-sized sf magazines, most with little or no smoke damage. (And btw, they fit very neatly into a 16"x16"xn box.) I'll probably hold onto the issues of Asimov's, F&SF, Galaxy, and If, but I probably won't want all the Analogs. Anyone interested in those? I'll be able to give a more precise report of which issues are there when I get 'em home; the Analogs are a mix of mid-'80s and much earlier, maybe late '60s or early '70s? Not sure.

So far I haven't had as much emotional reaction as I expected. It's been kind of like packing for a move, mostly. Except for the smoke damage, and remembering how they got that way. And I found a page from one of Nancy's school assignments and a cassette tape of Nancy's grandson playing piano; I'll have to figure out a way to get those to Nancy's daughter at some point.

Brought Iain M. Banks's short story collection State of the Art with me to read on the plane, which reminded me that I've been meaning to read more Culture novels (I think I've only read two so far); found a copy of Player of Games in one of the boxes, so I pulled it to read.

The newest authors I've noticed so far among Peter's paperbacks are Lyda Morehouse and Sean Stewart. I'm a little surprised at both of those, actually; I wouldn't have expected them to be to his taste. And I thought in recent years he was mostly reading mysteries.

Yet another thing to thank Jordan and Crystal for: the use of their space heater, so the garage hasn't been too cold. And although it rained last night (and may again tonight), there wasn't any snow to speak of, so really the weather's been about as good as I could have hoped for, given the location and time of year.

There's more to say, but it's past time for me to be asleep, so off I go.

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