[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] If you’re like me, you live in constant danger of books falling on your head. I have amassed quite the collection of books about art written in French, books about Portuguese written mostly in pictures, books about mystery, books about cooking and eating, books about urban housing and education, books about true crime, and more books about art written in French. When Nick and I moved into our condo, the collection expanded to include books about investing, books about business, and books about how to put up with people like me (i.e. The Idiot’s Guide to Idiots).
Just inside our front door is a niche that in 3-4 weeks will be a spectacular home for beloved books, with shelves reaching right up to the ceiling. For the better part of a year, most of our books have been stacked on the one random shelf installed in the niche by the condo’s previous owners. Originally, they were color coordinated (a look I am obsessed with), until one leaning tower of pages crashed to the floor, nearly paper cutting me to death as I came in from the gym. When the cabinet maker and contractor came by to measure last week, I figured I should secure the location (I didn’t want the gentlemen to go all workers’ comp on our assets), so now our books are in bags, bins and piles here, there and everywhere. In other words, right where you need to be standing in order to be productive.
I can’t tell you how many times I have purged my book collection. I tried to maintain a one book in, one book out policy (sort of like getting in the door to An Tua Nua when we were juniors at BC), but it never lasted long (very much like my love for An Tua Nua). I’ve kept certain books because they’ve changed the way I think, because they are special. I’ve kept other books because they were pretty. I’ve kept still other books because I was certain I’d want to re-read them. Upon closer examination there are exactly six books I have ever read more than once as an adult (when I was a kid I re-read all the time). They are:
- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
- A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
- Ordinary Resurrections, Jonathon Kozol
- The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
- Suite Française, Irène Némirovsky
- There Are No Children Here, Alex Koltowicz
So basically, there is no reason to hang on to all 40,000* other books presently threatening to overtake the condo. They’re destined for better things than terrifying their owners with bodily injury and space consumption. They’re going to prison.
Please see the Prison Book Program for more information about their upcoming book drive, volunteer opportunities in Quincy on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and how prisoners benefit from donated books. They have chapters across the country and accept donations throughout the year, so please consider passing along your could-do-without books even if you’re not in the Boston area.
*Pardon the gross exaggeration.
Also On Tap for Today:
- Lil Wayne walked out of Rikers a free man this morning
- Signing my re-commitment form for the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon!
- Want to chip in and buy the largest independent bookstore in New England?
Is once ever enough? Which book(s) do you find yourself reading over and over again?