Cataloging is like my stress reliever. When I am stressed, I usually start rearranging the furnitures or cleaning up the basement or organizing the files on my laptop to give me some semblance of control. It makes me feel as though I am doing something about my stress rather than sitting there and freaking out. Cataloging is a lot like rearranging files and furniture in that it is a stress relieving. Sometimes it can be frustrating when I miss something or make a mistake (like those mistakes in math where you have to go back and look over your work because the finished product is wrong). These books are fragile and sometimes I forget that we can’t open them fully or you can’t put certain things on them.
Cataloging also makes me think about our society’s relationship with books. There were a lot of books written during the 18th century yet our modern society is only aware of a scant hundred out of thousands. Most of the books in our collection were forgotten and left in the dust while there are multiple copies of Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver’s Travel on the net. Why are these books so well-known today as opposed to these other ones? Was it the authorship claim or the advertisement or the genre? What makes them so special compared to other similarly written books that are forgotten? Maybe in our future, people will only know of a couple thousand books from the millions written.
The books that usually stand out to me are the ones with errors. There is this one book called The Messiah where the pages were out of order and full of spelling mistakes. For example, there’s this one page where the running title says “f the Pagans” rather than “Of the Pagans.” Then there are the books with interesting titles like “Laugh and Be Fat” or the “Joan!!!” Another book that stood out to me was Tristam Shandy. There was a drawing in the book that follows the motion of a flourishing cane. There is also a page that has a plot line signalling how much he deviates from the main plot.