Continuing the book purge mentioned in my last post:
I am getting rid of books as if it were a matter of social justice: Get them to the people who will use them, I say! Book hoarding is just another form of book burning--yes, I'm talking to you, Jackie!
I was a teenager the last time I read a Jack Londen work, so why do I have the Complete Jack London? Or the Unabridged Shakespeare, for that matter? These books are so bulky that even if I were to read one of these works I'd probably get another edition. My two volume Complete Sherlock Holmes is a treasure, but if I need early 20th century British wit I always have Chesterton. I once had a penchant for books with the words "complete works" or "unabridged" in the title.
I found Girl with the Pearl Earling--wasn't I supposed to send this to someone? I also noticed part III of Dante's Divine Commedy. Didn't know I had it! I bet parts I & II are in there somewhere, too! I was embarassed to find Ray Brown's New Testament Essays--the same book I was gonna check out from the library the other day.
I would love to read all 1,259 pages of James Clavell's Shogun, but I don't see where I'm gonna find that much time for Japanese historical fiction. I would no doubt love to have read it--pay close attention to my verb tense there. However, I can't part with B-29: The Plane that Won the War, by--no joke--a man named Major Gurney. That book is as much history as what it describes. Maybe my copy of Go Ask Alice can save the life of another teenager as it may have saved mine--I always knew that hard drugs were to be avoided, and there were lines I knew never, ever to cross. I just assumed all kids knew that, but I have realized that that's not the case. I still haven't read the selections for my freshman college class on Science Fiction, so into the Goodwill box they--finally--go.
A Moral IssueShould I be giving away the books I like or the books I don't like? One man's junk is another man's treasure, they say, but I feel like I need to justify keeping the best stuff behind. Am I gonna read it again? Refer to it in an upcoming paper? Or am I just putting a lid on the light of the world?
Or maybe I would accomplish more in life if every little decision I made wasn't laid out in terms of a moral and social justice dilemma. Sometimes a stack of books is just a stack of books.
Should I keep a Dictionary and Thesaurus around to show the next generation how it was back before the internets?
Do I really need the fourth edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers when I am currently using the sixth?
The copy of Zwick's The Catholic Worker movement is not mine. Nor is The Long Lonliness, for that matter. Or Henri Nouwen's Can You Drink the Cup? If the owners are reading this (you know who you are) all I can say is: I didn't steal these on purpose! They just . . . sorta got absorbed into my overall stuff.