Friday, January 20, 2012


OK, so it wasn’t exactly a saga. The workmen showed up on time, finished promptly, and did a fabulous job.  And there were boxes to unpack, and so much to do that day (every day) that it wasn’t the tearful reunion I had imagined. I sort of thought I’d sit with a cup of tea, unwrapping beloved books and pressing them to my heart, or something like that. But it’s only been several days later, after the arranging and adjusting, that I’m finally starting to pause before the shelves and see what I’ve got. Because this is really an MVP line-up of books. Several years ago, I went through and gave away probably sixty percent of what I had then. I was beginning to realize that if I continued to keep any book I’d ever laid hands or eyes on, I would never have enough space for all of it. So now I keep books of fiction that I liked very much or loved, or ones I think I may want to refer back to. Same rules apply to other things:  non-fiction, history, religion, whatever. Everything else goes to the church book sale or the used bookstore.


It’s nice to have these books, my old friends, within reach. This morning I pulled this one down: 

I still think it’s one of the best titles ever, and this particular cover is especially evocative. It was nice to look at it again. I also re-read the opening of Plainsong by Kent Haruf, which is just marvelous. So simple, so immediately enveloping. There are books that remind me of certain times in my life, books that remind me of people I know. THE SHELVES are in, and my office is a little less quiet today. And there's plenty of room for more.


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"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka