Guest Blog from Judith Works – Bookshelves

img_0595Edmonds is a great community of artists and authors. One such author is Judith Works. It’s always a pleasure to share her insights and information on her books.  Enjoy!

I’m looking at my new “library,” otherwise known as three tall bookshelves in my office. No longer are books spilling out to the floor and only a few are placed sideways on top of other books. That may seem very neat but in fact books are still everywhere – art books piled on the coffee table in the living room, references on a shelf on my desk, books I’m reading on the bedside table, cookbooks in the kitchen. But the stacks are smaller than they were even though I’m sure books multiply by themselves at night when no one is looking.

My husband and I recently moved from a house to a condo half the size. That meant off-loading possessions. The hardest choices came when it came to books. I dithered for days – what to keep, what to save. The moving date approached; the packer showed up with a stack of flat cardboard boxes, ready to set up. It was time to make some decisions and it was painful. I felt defeated before I began. But the packer was circling ever closer to the office. He finished the linen closet and the guest bedroom. “I’ll need to be in this room tomorrow,” he said with a wave at the mess.

img_0594Galvanized, I gathered all the books scattered around the house and dragged them to the office to sort. One decision for sure: no throwing out any book, they would all be given away. But that seemed sacrilegious, even if donated to the local friends of the library for resale. No choice so I began. Out went books I love, books I’d read over and over, some for knowledge, some for enjoyment and escape from the real world. And a few books I’d never read and knew I wouldn’t. The discard pile grew as I looked at each book to decide whether it would eventually go back on the shelf in the new condo or to book heaven.
What survived? My husband’s favorite cookbooks where we’d find a place in the new kitchen. My favorite art books – Italian Renaissance art, the boxed set from the Hermitage that seemed to weigh twenty pounds, books on architecture and carpets. Some would go in our new living room but most would stay in the office. Next came the books and guidebooks from the places I’ve traveled: books on Angkor Wat, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Bali and Europe. They’re all still here. Lastly, I sorted the pile of novels and memoirs set in Italy. This was the hardest part but I eventually let go those that I would no longer treasure – very few I confess.

Twenty six boxes of books arrived in the condo on moving day. The laborers staggered in and stacked them in the middle of the room. They arranged the bookcases. They left. I found myself sitting in the middle of a new floor starting at the challenge of sorting and shelving.  I managed to stuff most of them in and congratulated myself, all the while already missing the ones left behind. Maybe neatness isn’t a virtue after all.



Bio: Judith Works is a writer now living near Seattle. She is a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School and is retired from the United Nations World Food Programme, headquartered in Rome, Italy. She is the author of a memoir recounting adventures and misadventures during her ten years in Rome, Coins in the Fountain. A novel set in Rome will be forthcoming this spring. She is working on a second novel. She also enjoys writing flash fiction and has had several pieces published in literary journals.


Coins in the Fountain: At your local bookstore or on Amazon

Amazon: Coins in the Fountain



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