Culling

June 5, 2009 at 11:56 am | Posted in Book Blather | 7 Comments

Books are heavy.  (I paraphrase “Bricks are heavy” – a statement my old high school friend used to make whenever anyone said something she deemed self-evident).  After moving and setting up my bookcase, expertly repaired by my man Rocket Scientist with a little JB Weld, I feel obligated to remind you all that books are heavy.  So why do we all have so many of them?

Photos of stacks of new books always entice me.  Yet I often wonder why my fellow bloggers buy so many, considering our reading rates realistically.  Say you read 25 books a year.  Great!  But if you go out and buy three new volumes, you’ve just planned out your reading for the next six weeks.  Make it eight, and you’ve got a commitment for four months… but how do you know you’re still going to want to read some of those at that point?  What if something new comes along?  What about the poor sad neglected books already languishing on your shelf?

We all beat ourselves up over our TBR stacks.  We feel guilty that we haven’t gotten around to certain things we think we “should” have read by now.  What we should do is buy books the same way we would buy milk.  You might go through a half-gallon a week, but you don’t then buy 26 gallons every January, for obvious reasons.  (I use milk as an example, even though I am vegan, because I couldn’t think of anything else people buy often that gets quite so smelly when it expires).

I’m the worst offender.  (I’m sure I’ll be smelly when I expire too!)  I virtually never read books I have actually spent money on.  If it doesn’t have a due date, it isn’t getting read.  I have two shelves dedicated to library books, and they rotate through and get turned in at least once a week.  At the rate I’ve been reading lately, I could have read everything in the house within three or four months, and we wouldn’t have had to move my 200-lb bookcase or its contents.  So when I say we should liberate ourselves and cull out those books we’re honestly never going to get around to, I speak as first among sinners.

It’s spring cleaning time!  What’s the book that’s been sitting around your shelves the longest?  Tell us what it is about it that put you off:  The cover art?  The length?  The font?  The smell of the paper or ink?  Is it something you picked out yourself?  Is it too aspirational or outside your normal tastes?

I would offer a prize for best answer, but it would just be an excuse for me to pawn off an old book I didn’t want on someone who probably shouldn’t be collecting any more books anyway!  Instead, I hereby give you permission to cull the herd and take that pesky old book off your list.

“The Outlander”

June 5, 2009 at 8:44 am | Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment

Of all the very fine books I am lucky enough to read, occasionally one really jumps out.  The Outlander is one.  I am just absolutely in love with Gil Adamson now.

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You’re probably going to see reviews of this book popping up all over the place.  It’s worth it.  Adamson uses language beautifully, the plot is expertly paced, and the characters are deliciously strange.  There’s a thread of offbeat humor here and there.  Don’t be surprised if you see The Outlander adapted into film, and probably faithfully.

Now, don’t go confusing this book with Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, though if you accidentally pick that up it’s also a fantastic read.

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