Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On my shelves


On the top shelf are books I own and need to read because they were 1) given to me by friends with good taste, or 2) purchased in a burst of inspiration. Here they sit, unread.

Allow me to point out a few that feel the most urgent (based either on the number of years I've owned and never read them, or the amount of excitement involved in their acquisition). In no particular order:
  1. Telling the Truth (Beuchner). A good friend and fellow writer gave this to me. The subtitle is "The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairytale." Holy cow, how did I even forget that I owned this? I found it while reorganizing after the move.
  2. Musicophilia (Sacks). I've read the first several chapters: it's all about how music and memory are intertwined. Fascinating. But my attention span is shamefully short.
  3. Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's: One Daughter's Hopeful Story (Kessler). The title is unbearably sad, even though the word hope is in it. Having "Alzheimer's" and "Daughter" in the same sentence just hits too close to home, so I haven't picked it up since I bought it in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport in '08 (the bookstore is the only thing that makes that airport bearable, by the way. Blech).
  4. Little Heathens (Armstrong-Kalish). Read a great review. I think it's about triumph and creativity and family solidarity during the Great Depression. Ironic.
  5. My Family and Other Animals (Durrell). A favorite of my Mom's; I think she read aloud from this book when I was a kid. The title alone is worth displaying.
  6. Tender at the Bone (Reichl). A memoir about food.
  7. Thrumpton Hall (Seymour). Another memoir, this one about a big house.
  8. The Piano Teacher (Lee). I can't remember what this is about.
  9. The Help (Stockett). Lot's of buzz going around about how great it is; I'm borrowing this copy from a family member.
  10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Larsson). OK, is this the first in the series, or the second? I can't figure it out. Has anyone read any of these?
  11. Lenny Bruce is Dead (Goldstein). I read Goldstein's other book, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible, and loved every word of it. This guy's sense of humor is priceless.
Without little individual book stands and halogen lighting, books lose their luster once I bring them home. Is it just me? You know that sappy saying about life not being about the destination, but real value being in "the journey" (whatever that means)? I'd like to use the same line of thinking about my library. The appeal is owning books, not necessarily reading them. [I can't believe I'm even admitting such a thing.] It is so gratifying to find and peruse and purchase new books and discover new authors, that actually reading the dang thing becomes secondary. I'm a little anxious that a new book won't live up to my expectations. What a lame excuse. Especially when I look at the next two shelves: books I've read and loved and will never part with.

A few favorites:
  1. The Shackled Continent (Guest)
  2. An Ordinary Man (Rusesabagina)
  3. Shake Hands with the Devil (Dallaire)
  4. Minding the Body (Foster)
  5. After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection (Davidson)
  6. A Different Kind of Teacher (Gatto)
  7. Holler if you Hear Me (Michie)
  8. Educating Esme (Codell)
  9. Sacred Pathways (Thomas)
  10. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (Rosenthal)
  11. The Divine Conspiracy (Willard)
See any other titles you recognize? Need a good book review? I'll rave about any of the books on these bottom two shelves. Maybe you can help get me excited about the top two shelves.

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