To Catalog or Not to Catalog?
That is the question for us bibliophiles. Why is that a question for us? Because we are a diverse lot. We are a stewpot of male, female, everything in between, adventurers, eggheads, bookworms, Renaissance men and women, lovers, haters, spiritual, unspiritual, true believers, atheists, scientists, romantics. You get my point. We have a challenge agreeing on anything . . . except our love of books. But even here, we diverge–our tastes align infrequently. But when they do . . . it’s Nirvana, Happy Hunting Ground, Heaven, or Oblivion–whichever you embrace.
For some, cataloging opposes a dearly held value–freedom. The person who has a perfect memory, has his/her books already cataloged mentally. He knows where every book he ever bought is located. She is aware of the date of purchase, the cost, the conversation at the checkout, and the feel and weight of the volume (perhaps smell too). Others of us–I believe most of us–know we think that maybe we have that book. Sounds familiar. Oh right. I bought four copies because I forgot about the other three. I know they’re here . . . somewhere. And that’s the testimony of a young person. Add forty years to a twenty-year-old and 10,000 volumes over a lifetime, and you might be in the boat I’m in.
I NEED to catalog.
And if you use your books, as I often do, as research assistants, then you definitely need to catalog. Unless you IQ and retention are superhuman–which leaves the rest of us out.
In a modest attempt to unite us toward a consensus then, let’s consider some reasons for or against cataloging your personal library. See, I know you. Some of you are already querying, “Why do we need to ‘unite . . . toward a consensus”?
Because, we may grow. We may be able to move from our own opinion to include the opinion of someone who can simplify our lives and free us of our limitations. Someone who got desperate enough early on to know that libraries catalog for a reason. And I have benefited from that system across my years of education, research, and writing.
Don’t have a personal library? But you want one? Then take a moment to read “How to Build Your Personal Library.” You may want to then read, “How to Arrange Your Personal Library.” Then come back here.
Some Pro’s and Con’s – You Decide
- Takes too much time
- I could be reading instead
- I hate organizing
- I’d rather not know what I have. I like surprises
- I know what I have
- I can easily access the information I need
- I like order and harmony
- If I want to lay my hands on a book, I know exactly where it is
- I want to know where I bought it, when, how much I paid, etc.
- I can do book lists in an instant
3 Resources I’ve Found Helpful
- Librarything.com - a little technical for me. I prefer user-friendly. Also, I could not find a mobile app that worked properly.
- Collectorz.com – costs money, but a good system. I used it for years. Stopped using it because every upgrade cost money and I could only access my books if I had my computer wtih me.
- Goodreads.com - FREE and easy to use. Lacks some bells & whistles, but I’m sure they’ll show up soon enough. In addition, the mobile app is excellent, easy to use and access, and user-friendly.
QUESTION: Do you catalog your personal library? What software or site have you found helpful?
A pastor friend of mine from Nova Scotia shared his approach to preaching, teaching, and writing. He decided to not speak “against” anything. Instead he speaks and writes “for” what is biblical and good. This keeps him positive and lets people draw their own conclusions about how the positive message should inform their values and opinions (I think it keeps him out of the line of fire too, although he might disagree).
I’m beginning to think that I’ll adopt a version of that philosophy, but I’d like YOUR opinion. I shared with another friend in ministry and he said that Jesus often spoke out against things, especially injustice and sin. Who could do better than to follow the model of Jesus? Except that his approach led him to amass a huge crowd of enemies among the unrepentent and the religious heirarchy. Ultimately his values and worldview took him to the cross, where he absorbed their evil and took the penalty that their sins deserved. By the way, Jesus did this willingly. According to his own testimony, as the Son of God, he had at his disposal tens of thousands of powerful spiritual beings (angels, Cherubim, Seraphim, etc) who could have wiped out everyone around him and rescued him, but he surrendered willingly. Ponder that sometime.
I’m not sure, if Jesus walked today, that anyone would even listen to him. Well, they might listen, but I KNOW they wouldn’t HEAR. I’m certain, beyond a shadow of doubt, that he would be labeled a bigot, intolerant, noninclusive (he called the Syrophonecian woman a “dog”–meaning Gentile), he could get physical at times (as in the temple courts when he overturned the seller’s tables). No, he would not really be taken seriously. He would be viewed as unruly and narrow-minded, judgmental, holier-than-thou.
Perhaps that’s why we–as true disciples of Jesus–were invited to “go outside the city” and take our stand there, with Him. We are not taken seriously in this culture. No one’s listening to the warnings of implosion. No one, including the church, wants to hear messages or writings that confront our sin, hypocrisy (pretending to have virtues but acting opposite to them), or waywardness. We want positive, feel-good, affirm-my-sin-and-opinion, messages.
So . . . that leads me to my new approach. I’m not settled upon it yet. I know I’m called to write and speak plainly so that people can take warning, turn and be saved. But what do I do in an evil culture that’s not really listening? I think I should do what God does . . . I will speak ONLY to those who are really listening–that would be believers who want to grow and know intimate fellowship with Jesus. I will also speak to genuine seekers. And I will speak only what the Lord gives me to speak. That would be values aligned to his Word, the Bible. If people want to argue, they can argue with God. He who has ears to hear, let him/her hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV)
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
QUESTIONS: What do you think?
A conversation with Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys, on the evening of November 17, 1974, changed the course of my life. Ultimately it led to the discovery that Jesus Christ is really alive and the only treasure worth having. It also taught me something about famous people and their needs.
The following is an excerpted section from my forthcoming memoir, Adopted: A Memoir of Healing Love. The section is entitled, “Lessons from Carl Wilson,” in which I relate the details of this encounter that sparked my spiritual journey to Christ:
In November of 1974, The Beach Boys were in concert at the civic center in Springfield, MA.. Around the time of their concert, I worked on and off for a sound and recording studio, The Studio, in the Berkshires owned by Norman Titcomb. While with Norm, we provided sound reinforcement for Arlo Guthrie, Wendy Waldman, John Davidson, the 5th Dimension and later, Natalie Cole.
I had never seen the Beach Boys live. They had to be experienced. I called my sister, Dorothy, and I called my girl friend. We three went together. My sister contends that my girlfriend was not wild about my sister’s presence with us. I do not remember it that way. I thought everything was fine.
I was surprised and disappointed that Brian Wilson wasn’t with them. A second drummer had joined them on the road, Rickie Fataar. They did a great job though. They played both their new and old songs. I had never been to a concert as great as that concert.
Later, backstage, I met one of the sound guys and he invited us to the Beach Boys party at the Springfield-Holyoke Holiday Inn, Holyoke, MA. What a break! Now I get to meet, talk with, drink with my long time heroes.
We got to the Inn and entered the convention room where the party was already in progress. None of the guys had arrived yet. Mainly groupies, sound guys, and a few associates were already there with wine, drinks, and snacks. Everything flowed freely and generously there. I don’t remember paying for anything. Most likely the record company picked up the tab.
When the guys got there, Carl Wilson entered. He wore an open flannel shirt and jeans. He sat at a table behind me. I couldn’t believe it. These guys practically lived in my room–“In My Room.” That song spoke for me. It was as though they knew me or something. The guys who knew me and helped me through many of my problems with girls and at school. The guys who went to the beach with me every summer, who knew the salt and sea air, who knew the smell of French fries and hot dogs were right here with me now. What could I say to them that wouldn’t sound stupid. Hey, I really identified with the stuff in ‘All Summer Long?’
I turned to Carl. “Great concert tonight. The sound was excellent!” We struck up a conversation. We talked together about the road and other hazards. He seemed a little tired, perhaps road-weary, but other than that pretty opened and interested talking. Then it happened. I don’t think he knew what he was about to unleash in my life.
He asked me the strangest question. I later remembered that Plato had said the unexamined life wasn’t worth living. My life was pretty much unexamined up until this night with Carl Wilson. But it was this question and his response to my answer would several months later be used of God to bring me to Himself.
“What’s your dream? What plans do you have for your life?” asked Carl.
I couldn’t believe my ears. What an out of place question in the middle of a party, of all places. I wasn’t in the “profound” mood either. Besides, I didn’t much ask myself such questions. They usually got me depressed.
On top of that . . . I had no clue. “I want to be like you guys,” I heard myself say. “I sing in a band and we hope to get on the road and cut an album.” You would have thought I had told him that Audrey wore combat boots. He laid into me.
“Are you crazy?” He shook his head in disbelief, turned to more fully face me, then riveted his eyes on mine. “Maybe you want to be like him,” he said as he pointed at a dilapidated Dennis Wilson, crumpled on the floor with his back up against the wall, his head tilted to the side, eyes rolled back. He was totally out of it with one attractive girl on each side of him pawing him in his oblivion. One of the girls shoving her shoulder up under his head to later claim that a Beach Boy had slept the night on that shoulder.
Just then, Mike Love shoved the double doors open and burst in. He wore green satin pants and a matching shirt with a yellow star on it. He had a striking blonde girl on one arm and a to-die-for red-head on the other. He announced in a tone full of himself, “I’m here.” He scanned the scene for response.
Carl could see that I was in shock. He said, “Or maybe you want to be like that asshole.” He pointed to Mike.
I said lamely, “Nah . . . I just want to make it like you guys. And have all the friends and people that love you.”
He shook his head and squinted, and fired at me, “You’re an asshole!”
You think these people are our friends? Man . . . I could go to bed with any one of these chicks tonight but never know whether she did it because I was a Beach Boy or because I’m Carl Wilson. I don’t ever know whether I’m valued as Carl or as a Beach Boy. That’s what you want?”
Then he turned away from me and got up.
I don’t know where he went because I had turned back to the people at my table who were all watching me. Fortunately, I was too drunk and high to know how to respond. I sat stunned.
His cousin, Al Jardine, who had apparently overheard the conversation came and sat next to me. He broke my stupor. He said something like, Hey man . . . don’t worry about him. He doesn’t really mean it. He’s just really bummed out about being on the road. He won’t get to be with his family this Christmas and he’s worried about Dennis and his brother Brian. He’s home in bed.
I didn’t understand what was going on in their lives at that point in their history. Frankly, I was one of those people who saw them as The Beach Boys, not as Carl, Dennis, Al, Brian, Mike, but as a phenomenon and as the group that expressed what I felt in music. If any one of them felt used, rejected frightened, I don’t think I ever gave that a thought. Later I would find out, through documentaries, that Brian had had a breakdown and was literally in bed, clinically depressed perhaps. That they had a falling out with their father who had been their producer early on. And that Dennis was keeping company with Charles Manson and family.
All of the guys wondered about their futures, cared about what was happening to their family and each other and were trying the best to cope with all the “stuff” of their public and private lives, while people like me made them money but didn’t have the humanity to see them as brothers, fathers, husbands, or guys who–like the rest of us–needed love and real people in their lives.
“Yeah . . . OK, thanks,” I said, but didn’t mean it because Carl’s words had cut deeply into my fantasy of who The Beach Boys were. My idols had, in one stroke, in three minutes of conversation incinerated and blown away.
Al spoke again, “Hey . . . sorry. We really do appreciate you and thanks for buying our records and diggin’ our music.” I looked at him. His smile was warm. He placed his hand on my shoulder. “Have another beer. Enjoy yourself.” Honestly, up until that evening, Al was the one I liked least of all the guys. I thought his talent fell short of Brian, Carl, and Mike. He was just kind of . . . there. Then I realized he was one of the nicest of the guys. I felt like he considered it a privilege to be in the band and never fell into believing his own press.
It wasn’t Carl’s fault that I had been crushed. An encounter with reality that evening changed my life. And that was God’s intent.
I had always wanted to tell Carl: that though He did not claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, his encounter with me led me to the examination of my life that ultimately resulted in my finding Christ as Lord and Savior. I owed my adolescent love of music to them. Now I felt I owed to Carl’s struggle and suffering (and The Beach Boys indirectly) my new spiritual life in Christ. I was saved through a sincere search that began with Carl Wilson’s offhanded, (but accurate about me) comments. I wanted to tell him but didn’t even know how to get in touch. Time passed. Dennis died. Then Carl died of brain cancer (or so I heard).
For Carl’s hard word to me that night, for Al’s compassion, and for Brian and Mike’s music I am extremely grateful. I now see them as people. I often wished I could have been a friend and returned the favor. This account is my attempt at that and my thanks to a loving Father, who in spite of my ungratefulness to him, kept drawing me to Himself with cords of love. Through any and every means.
This touchpoint in my life taught me three things:
First, famous people have a life. The people who bring us entertainment, songs, music, movies are first and foremost people. Like you and me. They are not what the media makes of them—stars, icons, etc. We do them a great disservice when we idolize them. We actually dehumanize them. That must feel to them like we’re using them. They’re already being used by everyone around them. To many of those people, the entertainers are products to capitalize. Agents use them. Concert promoters use them. Record companies use them. And, in a sense, we use them. Just as they use us. We’re their fans and it’s a love-hate relationship.
We also cooperate with their fantasy—that they are somehow SO important. I don’t ever want to dehumanize another person whom God has created. Nor be guilty of contributing to their own “pride of life”—the inflated notion of their own sense of worth. Their worth comes from the fact that they are created by God for relationship with the Heart of the Universe. Not that they can stir the emotions of hundreds of people on a stage—so could Stalin—or are household names—so is Hitler. Popularity is fleeting and says nothing about character or value.
Second, God can use anyone at any time as an agent for his purposes for people. He can put words in their mouths that can be life changing, whether they know it or not. In my role as a pastor, I’ve found that even an enemy can speak truths that I need to hear. And Judas fulfilled God’s purposes for Jesus. Often, a thought enters our mind. We speak. But regardless of what we think we meant, God can use it in the other person for his/her good. That’s why writing this book is so important to me. God will use it in the lives of those who read it.
The third thing: don’t wait until it’s too late to thank people. Do it now while you can. And I make that my habit. Say it now! From what I’ve learned about my heavenly Father, his love requires that he smash our fantasies and demolish our idols so that nothing false stands against truly knowing Him for who he is. As long as I trusted in myself and my sense of future fame, I had a focus that kept me from Him and that contributed to a view of people that kept me from fulfilling the purposes He had for my life.
These are the things I believe I learned through that encounter with The Beach Boys and from what God has taught me from this touchpoint with His divine providence.
* * *
NOTE: The period from the fall of ’74 through the fall of ’76–the bicentennial of our nation–was for me a time of deep soul-search. I knew that I was going nowhere. Carl’s question kept repeating in my mind. It focused me. This was a time of many questions: Who was I? Where was I going? What was my future? What would I do with my life? The questions most young people ask in their early college years, I was asking at age 26.
This was an excerpt from my forthcoming memoir, Adopted: A Memoir of Healing Love. Expected release on Kindle for fall of 2012.
© 2011, David C Alves
Wanted to give all my friends and readers a heads-up.
I want to give you the best and easiest reading experience possible. I’ll be changing the look of my blog-site within the next couple of weeks (perhaps sooner). Don’t want you to be surprised when I do.
I hope you’ll like the new look and feel. Please take the time to comment once the change is made. Love to know what you think.
In addition, I thought it might be good to tell you about my focus here. I know that I’ve somewhat covered it in my ABOUT page, but not many people go to a blogger’s about page.
As someone on a spiritual journey to know God better, I write posts that I would like to read. Sometimes they’re on writing, or perhaps a review of a good book. Sometimes I simply need a laugh and post something humorous. I also post cultural warning signs so that fellow travelers will not be hurt along the path. Because foster care and adoption played a part in my childhood, I also write about that. And occasionally I post a devotional thought or journal entry from my various journals. My “How-to’s” seem to draw the most readers. Well . . . you get it. I intentionally mix it up–writing what I like reading.
Posting on a multiplicity of topics can prove frustrating for someone who’s looking for “a brand.” If you need a brand to subscribe to and follow my blog, check “categories” to filter my posts OR let it be this:
LOVE, LIFE, & ENCOURAGEMENT ALONG THE JOURNEY
I suppose that would be the sum of the parts.
If anything in that brand appeals to you, then please follow my blog by either the follow button (if you’re on WordPress, signing up for email notifications, or subscribing to my post on Kindle.
Though it’s not a requirement to read here. I would really appreciate it too if you would take the time to comment too so that we can develop a community. I know you’re busy, but it’s really great when I go to a site and follow discussions. They sometimes enlarge or enhance the author’s post. I’ve been helped by them as well.
Well that’s about it. Thanks SO MUCH that you’ve read this far. And thanks for being a valued reader here at “David’s Place.” I appreciate your time and consider it a treasure.
FYI – David Fay is my birth name. I use it for my poetry, fiction, literary essays, etc.
Please visit Five Reflections too. When we find something worth mentioning, isn’t it great to pass that along?
This blog, David’s Place and my Litblog, Realm of Fay are both available for your Kindle.
Thanks for reading.
The following are two posts that I’ve written that relate to adoption and foster care. I hope that something here is helpful to my new and first-time readers:
Letter to an adoptive mom, encouraging her to recognize the gift of God in her desire to love her adopted children
The moment healing love broke the spell of fear that I was locked in as a six year old who couldn’t trust that I was loved and would never be sent back to foster care.
Sign up on the top, right to receive an email notification when I publish new posts.
You can also visit me at David C Alves on Facebook and “Like” my author page.
- My Adoption Journey (she: Brenda) (oneshetwoshe.com)
- Families Matter! (and) Family matters? (policyperformanceconsultants.wordpress.com)
- The Bair Foundation Joins Christian Alliance for Orphans (prweb.com)
- Noy signs Foster Care Act (hreplib.wordpress.com)
Sabbath Keeping is a fresh look at an important antidote to our chronic busyness.
I love it that Lynne Baab does not approach the topic from the vantage-point of “law.” Rather, she comes at it through a seasonal metaphor. Life is full of seasons. Sabbath rest is an organic, season in our week. It is a rhythm of life. Those who participate in this special gift of God–one day out of seven–experience a harvest of peace and joy in the midst of their lives.
She also gives practical helps for those interested in going deeper or launching into a Sabbath. She gives multiple solutions for those who want to move out of the cultural torrent, to the still waters of a deeper spirituality.
Since I have been keeping a Sabbath with my wife for two years now, I find her suggestions and conclusions to be right on target. I highly recommend this book to veterans or those just thinking about the need for a quiet space in their week.