February 22, 2012

The Shelf

You may remember that a few days ago, I had some broadband issues.  The powers that be sent a technician to the apartment complex, so as to discover just what was going on.  I gather they found nothing out of the ordinary, so the technician came into Pond Central to investigate.  When I got home some hours later, there was a note on my door, saying that there was a signal strength issue and the tech needed access to the cable outlet.  I groaned at this; the cable outlet is behind a bookcase in my living room... a bookcase overfilled with books.  While I knew this was going to be three different levels of hell to deal with, I did realize that I had been presented with a great opportunity.  For years, I've meant to get all my military history books out of my bedroom and into one of the big bookshelves in the living room... well, here was my chance! 

I should have known better.  Almost every time there's a broadband connection problem, the techs say there's a signal strength issue.  As I was getting the books out of the bookcase, my broadband connection came back.  Yay, I guess.  Still, I wasn't going to just fill the thing back up again, in case there really was a problem (for once), so I let it sit for the weekend... and the books that had been in it stacked high on my coffee table.  While it made watching TV a little difficult (read: impossible), and folding laundry a  challenge (read: are you kidding?), I put up with it until Monday.

That night, I came home from the Duck U Bookstore, changed into the grubbiest clothes I had, and began moving books from the bedroom to the living room.  Grubby, because some of them were going to be dusty as all get-out.  It took an hour, and I still haven't gotten around to organizing them other than by size, but I now have my military history reference library all in one place, where I can easily peruse them.  Before this, they were in three different bookcases AND stacked on a dresser in four piles AND stacked on top of two other bookcases.  Yeah, this works much better.

The top of the bookcase is devoted to either paperbacks (for example, "Zero!" by Martin Caidin, though my edition is substantially older than the one linked to, or "Climax at Midway" by Thaddeus Tuleja, in fact the very edition shown, for which I need to thank Uncle JoeDuck) or quick reference books from Salamander.  Those titles, and the others like it from B&N Press, are what I term bathroom reference books, because... well, that should be obvious, shouldn't it?  They aren't for in-depth research, but they often provide a good starting point for things that end up on The Pond.  Indeed, my post on HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney, The Misfit Battleships, had its genesis exactly that way.

The bottom shelf is full of Tom Clancy, both fiction and non-fiction.  They make a good solid weight for the rest of the bookcase.  Also down there are two editions of Norman Polmar's "Ships and Aircraft of the US Fleet" (the 14th and 15th, in case you're curious).  While I'd kill to have some Jane's Fighting Ships in here, they're just too expensive (though this one is reasonable... which makes me wonder why). 

In between the top and bottom is the heart and soul of The Pond's Military History category.  I haven't quite figured out how I intend to organize them yet... do I alphabetize by author?  Arrange by category (with Midway books on top)?  By size?  By spine color?  The world wonders.  If you want to take a closer look at The Collection, click on the picture for a much larger version, one where you can actually read the spines. 

Having it all in one place for the first time ever is... wow, quite daunting, actually. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:54 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 662 words, total size 6 kb.

1 Every time I read about HMS Rodney, I think of Sir Rodney from Wizard of Id. And then I suppresss a grin.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at February 22, 2012 10:05 PM (+rSRq)


A very nice looking collection indeed.  I have my collection overflowing my bookcase and into boxes and onto various shelves.  I also notice we have many of the same titles, too.

Looking at that picture is sure fun at figuring out what is in your collection.  Paperback copy of Castles of Steel, correct?

I really want to get my hands on Combat Fleets, since I have my doubts about some of Norman Polmar's works and it is comparable to Jane's.  But unfortunately, crack is cheaper in this case, and so would be a copy of Blu-Ray set of Kara no Kyoukai Aniplex released last year...

Then there is Garzke and Dulin's Allied Battleships which has sadly not been reprinted since the early 1980s...


Posted by: cxt217 at February 22, 2012 10:15 PM (47Cgj)

3 Ack, forgot to re-link to the bigger picture after having to delete the original small picture.  Should work now...

CT, no, no Castles of Steel, though I'm aware of the book.  And gold is cheaper than some of the Jane's Fighting Ships editions.

Steven, now I'm never going to get that connection out of my mind.  Thanks so very much.

Posted by: Wonderduck at February 22, 2012 10:41 PM (ZNgWw)


Not including any of the Tom Clancy books or the books I have given up on, number of titles in both our libraries is in the double digits.

In retrospect, I should have realize that was a copy of Victory at Sea, and not Castles of Steel.

I also noticed that your copy of Kaigun is sadly missing its dustjacket...

Posted by: cxt217 at February 22, 2012 10:53 PM (47Cgj)

5 I do not understand how a cable connector can be behind a shelf. The socket is small, but the connector and relief slieve stick out quite a bit, and the cable should not be bent hard or else it creates internal reflections, which ruin the signal. I always had to plan shelves a cabinets so that they avoid leaning against cable outlets that are in use.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at February 22, 2012 11:19 PM (G2mwb)

6 Pete, the plate is actually behind the bookcase, which is three or four inches away from the wall so as to match with the TV stand.

CT, yeah, I was a little unhappy about the missing jacket m'self, but on the plus side it was only $35.  A quick glance at amazon right now shows the cheapest you can get it is for $75.  For $40, I'll live without a dustcover.

I'm not surprised there's a lot of overlap between our collections.  There aren't many obscure books in mine, and a lot of the "must-haves" (Shattered Sword, Fire In The Sky, Frank's Guadalcanal, Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, etc etc etc...).  There's just a LOT of books.

I mean, for a non-professional.

Posted by: Wonderduck at February 23, 2012 12:20 AM (ZNgWw)

7 Do you have "Soldiers of the Sun"? If not, you should.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at February 23, 2012 12:49 AM (+rSRq)


Japan's Imperial Army by Edward Drea is a more recent take on the subject.  It is very good and makes for some rather startling revelations.

But how can any collector's shelves be without Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War?  You do need a coffee table to put the book, because if the book falls from any place higher than a coffee table, it might kill someone on the way down.

Sadly, Fire in the Sky is one of those books I am unlikely to touch again.  Eric Bergerud's tendency to switch into the first person grated too much, and it happened far too often for a professional work.  What is really odd is that Touched With Fire is many ways, a much better written book despite being published earlier by Bergerud.

Posted by: cxt217 at February 23, 2012 09:40 AM (47Cgj)

9 cool collection, seeing Tom Clancy takes me back. I got into Tom Clancy when I was in 5th grade and this lead me into military history books in the 6th grade (I'm pretty sure I've read some of books in your collection) but my local library had so few books of that type that I quickly had to move into SF which was a much more plentiful (and cheaper) genre to read.

Posted by: thenullset at February 24, 2012 06:19 PM (88uM9)

10 "I haven't quite figured out how I intend to organize them yet... do I alphabetize by author? Arrange by category (with Midway books on top)? By size? By spine color? The world wonders."

I have mine organized by size on shelves like this.  That's due to weight, not any "real" organizing scheme.  The bottom shelf (and on some units, the middle thru-shelf that splits the side uprights) can hold about half-again more weight.  The heavier books always end up there.  It's inconvenient, but it still beats overloading the shelves.  You can see it in the picture; the second-from-bottom shelf looks like it's got a noticeable sag in the middle, in the gap between Dogfight and Artillery.  Since the shelves aren't secured along the back, it always makes me nervous when I see that happen in my own bookcases.

Posted by: Ranger Rick at March 03, 2012 02:12 AM (C+SLR)

11 All of the shelves save the bottom one are adjustable on this bookcase, Rick... and the only reason you're not seeing sag on the other shelves is because I flipped them over.

Oddly, the OTHER bookcase, with the manga, DVR, and ducks doesn't have nearly as much warping, despite being at least as heavily loaded.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 03, 2012 02:20 AM (O9XO8)

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