Putting Books on Shelves, Taking Them Off…

Earlier in the month I told how I got worked up when parts of my book order began to arrive in the mail. I admit, I do feel a bit sheepish, buying more books and telling about them, when there are plenty of good ones already on my shelves. But that’s me, a glutton.


These are mostly used, almost all from different sellers, and the shipping totalled way more than the books themselves. Most of the titles have been on my wish list for months or years, and I know that some of the books, now that they are in my possession, will sit on the shelf for at least months, more likely years, before I get to them. But they have a better chance of being read now.

Not to mention, they are now available for me to remove from the bookcase briefly, to open and lovingly turn a few pages–even when there isn’t time to give my full attention to the contents. Winston Churchill gave an admonition to book-lovers to do just that. I read the saying in a London museum, and it appears I’ll have to return there if I am ever going to find it verbatim.

In some cases it is a mystery how I heard about the book or why I wanted it. The Golden Book of Writing looks valuable, and I can always use help in that department, but it will have to remain uncredited as far as who recommended it. Maybe it was my friend at Amazon.com who always says, “We have recommendations for you!”

John McWhorter has been interviewed a couple of times on Mars Hill Audio, so I’ve been familiar with him and wanting to read more from his mind. Linguistics is a subject that grabs me ever since I was privileged to take a tutorial in the subject as a freshman in college. Perusing the titles of McWhorter’s bibliography feeds my book greed.

Dana Gioia is another author whose acquaintance I first made through MHA, and I mentioned that meeting here already. I only owned one book of his poems before–now I have two, and two collections of essays. Disappearing Ink is a collection of essays subtitled Poetry at the End of Print Culture.

Kristin Lavransdatter I loved so much that I snatched up sets whenever I’d see them, in the old translation that so many people despise–I didn’t. But now I want to read it in Tiina Nunnally’s rendition.

Because I dearly love my friend, whom I will call Bird, I bought The Lady’s Not for Burning, a play by Christopher Fry. Bird is 98 years old, and this play is one of her favorite pieces of writing, I think partly because it was something she enjoyed with her late husband. Bird is terribly hard of hearing, but she can hear me when I sit nearby and we talk about how thankful we are to God for many things. She is a little worried that her eyes will fail her and she won’t be able see the print on the pages of her books; I told her I will come and read to her then.

I think she would really like Kristin Lavransdatter.

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