Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My ideal of keeping our books corralled on the number of shelves we currently own requires regular thinning. When we moved bookshelves around last year, an entire box of books somehow didn't fit on them anymore, and I finally got around to redistributing them a few weeks ago.

This is always a somewhat fraught activity in our household. I feel that the public library does an excellent job of storing books, and we only need to keep on hand those that are not generally available or those that have significant personal meaning and are reread over and over. Dan disagrees, or maybe it's more that he feels EVERY book he's read has been important in some way. At any rate, I've given up trying to pass on the worn paperback versions of modern classics ("Half the pages are falling out!" "But it's Aldous Huxley!"), less-than-amazing titles ("It's yet another writer writing about writing- yawn." "But we know the author!"), poetry ("When was the last time you referred to the Western Wind anthology from freshman year?" "I plan to frequently, once our lives are less busy."), or anything work related ("Isn't there a bit of duplication between the The Art of Tracking, The Science of Tracking, The Art and Science of Tracking, and the Science and Art of Tracking?" "No!!!")

I think our longest debate was over Jack Kerouac. On the Road had a good beat, but its whole point was pointlessness; I found the first half about as interesting as sitting around with a bunch of stoners telling stories, and the second half sad but predictable. Dan, however, must've read it at just the right time; for several weeks, he channeled Dean's manic persona. (I wonder if I still have any e-mails from back then; just as Dan temporarily picks up foreign accents with long exposure to them, he assumed a stream-of-consciousness writing style in response to Kerouac.) As one might expect, this made me dislike the book even more, and at some point when we were preparing for a move, I tried to give it away. Dan caught me, though, and now I must forever live in fear that he'll re-read it at some point and start raving feverishly about jazz and freedom.

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