Mom and I took up the project in the early evening, and recycled a lot, and sorted out a big box full to donate to the secondhand bookstore, including many children's books. For some reason, Mom called Dad up to look at something, though I told her not to. He had a fit upon seeing that we were getting rid of books. He was going into the box of ones we were giving away and "rescuing" several. When Mom and I went downstairs, he went through the recycling and took books and old magazines out of there.
I filled a box with ragged old instruction books on playing instruments and a few other pages of this and that. Mom and I had gotten the books on the bookcase in some order, but I worked on it more when she went downstairs, and put the bigger books on the bottom shelf. She wanted to save the song books of folk songs, so I rearranged things to lay them out flat on a higher shelf. It's not like anyone had touched any of the books on there in years, because they had no idea what was on there. I'm not sure why Dad was so upset when he hadn't had any idea what was there, except that he's a packrat. I put his old insurance books in the den with the box of falling-apart musical instrument instruction books. I think insurance books from the sixties, seventies and eighties are pretty dated, but he did work in insurance for some years, into the eighties.
The rickety bookcase looks a lot better now that the books are actually fitted on the shelves in some kind of order. Now you can actually see what's there. I feel like Mom and I accomplished a lot, and in only a couple of hours. It's a good feeling to have actually brought some order to that thing.