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One More Case, by Danielle Mikals

This post is part of 805's “My Home Library” series that features writers and artists enjoying their home libraries.

It took far longer to organize the shelves than it did to build them.

The bookcase was ordered just after I was informed that the two-week quarantine was going to be “just a little bit longer” (fifteen months longer, but that’s another story). I spent a week looking up what type of shelf to buy. It wasn’t as if I could go to Ikea and grab something on a whim. Instead, I sorted through options online, hoping that what I chose wouldn’t arrive and be a waste of the impressive amount of money required for a delivery fee.

It took three attempts to finally arrive. I tracked the package—the delivery one of many to our street at the time. I dragged the flat package upstairs. It was awkward and involved a fair bit of muttered swearing, but I got it done. Then came the assembling of the bookshelf. After consulting the instructions, venting frustrations to my collection of books, and grabbing two different tools that I ended up not needing, I had my new bookcase.

And thus began the shift of my fiction collection. I dropped a hardback on my foot and was covered in smears of dust before I was even half a case in. This could be done in fifteen minutes, I thought, if I just slapped the books in on the shelves instead of shifting three overstuffed bookshelves into meticulous order.

Absolutely not.

Rachel Aaron was going to be at the top left. Timothy Zahn would be at the bottom left of the third bookshelf. Everything in between would be in order. Author’s last name, then by publication date. It helped keep things straight when it came to Laurell K. Hamilton and Stephen Saylor.

Organizing those collections by title would be near chaos. I considered it a victory when I got them all sorted in a weekend.

Then I stepped back, looked at my library, and wondered what I was going to do with my time now.


Danielle Mikals is an employee at the AOK Library at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She graduated from UMBC with a Bachelor’s in History and has had a fondness for working in library stacks for the past decade and a half. She was recently included in an anthology of six-word stories collected by Doug Weller.


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