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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Impossible Decisions

Use of Weapnons, US edition

I enjoy it too much - even if I knew I'd never get a book published, I would still write. I enjoy the experience of getting thoughts and ideas and plots and characters organised into this narrative framework.
Iain Banks

My friend's team won their pool tournament and now they'll be going off to Las Vegas. They're trying to raise some extra $$ for personal spending money while they are there. One of the ways they are doing that is by having a garage sale. In the interest of assisting in the cause, I donated four large sacks of books (including every one of Janet Evanovich's Stefanie Plums). It broke my heart to see her carry them out the door even though I knew I'd never read them again.

There are very few books I'll read more than once - Andrew Vachss, Ed McBain, Lawrence Block, Augustin Burroughs. I've never re-read any of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books but I might someday. Mostly though when I'm done, I'm done. Geez, I have unread books stacked under my desk and unread books filling up my Kindle. I can't even keep up with new books, much less re-read old ones!

But I still have a difficult time forcing myself to part with them. One of my author-heroes, Iain Banks, just died. I have every book he ever wrote. He's the first one who seduced me into science fiction with his Culture series. I wouldn't have predicted anyone could do that. I thought I hated science fiction.

I have all of Charlie Huston's books and all of Tim Hallinan's and all of John Burkett's.....

When John visits and goes upstairs where all the bookcases are (the bookcases are all full and there are more books stacked beside them), he invariably says, "Mom, you're not planning to leave me all these 9,000 pounds of books to deal with someday, are you?"

So, I decide I really need to get tough with myself and begin the winnowing process. I sit on the floor and pull a volume out of the book case.  It's one of the John Sandfords. I put it back. I select another by Robert Crais. I put it back. How about Daniel Silva? Absolutely not! John Connolly? No! I've taken a big trash bag upstairs with me. By the end of the afternoon, there are two lone books in the bottom and I'm not so sure about one of them. I might remove it.

Obsession is a rather strong word but infatuation isn't and I'm definitely infatuated by books. I might even go so far as to label it an addiction. And it's not just with reading them. I'm enamored by their very physical presence. In fact, it doesn't even have to be physical. I even revel at the sight of all the titles that represent books on my Kindle.

I used to be thrilled when I sold real estate and showed a house, only to see one of my very own columns taped to a refrigerator. Now I glory in the thought that MY titles actually appear on other people's Kindles.

I think it may very well end up that John will ultimately have the responsibility of the books. 

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