here comes a time in every book’s life when you flip to the final page and read to the bottom. And then you think, “Wonderful.” Or possibly, “Thank Christ that’s done.”
But either way, we get to the end of all books (even if we blow the canopy early and bail). The question then becomes – what to do with those leftovers?
For the books that made me smile or spoke to me in my loneliness, that connected to my soul in some way, I keep. There is a straining set of shelves in the Florida room I place them on. It is my shrine to good storytelling. In the corners of this room there are also piles of collections and series that I liked. Yes, the plan is to someday read them. That’s the plan. Sure.
This is not to be confused with the books from my earlier life. At one point I had four mismatched bookshelves containing everything I’d read. Some of it was good. A lot of it was bad. And once I moved into the bungalow I’ve shared with my wife these three decades, I had to do something with them. Currently they are slowly dryrotting in dozens of cardboard boxes in the attic and over the carport. Terrible, really, but what else can I do? From time to time I’ll climb up and tug a couple down to read. And generally time puts a new set of eyes in my head. What I loved then I’m not so fond of now. The Hoka’s come to mind (with all respect).
But for all of these, I might keep one book in ten or twenty. The others? Well, my idea is to toss them. Into the trash they go with a nod and a shrug. But to my wife, I might as well be wearing a Wehrmacht uniform with a torch in one hand and a can of gasoline in the other. Yes, she hates that. So that begins a series of I-toss, she-fetches games that prove so frustrating to a modern marriage. Really, dear, the book was lousy. I’ve got thousands of other lousy books to reread. I’ll never touch this one again.
But that doesn’t work.
What does work is my newest trick. At work we have a usually-empty break room (even more empty after they took the foosball table and the arcade games out). And that’s where getting to work early pays off. I just slipped into the room early one morning and dumped a small pile of books on a corner table. The implication is there. To a good home. Of course, given that most of my co-workers are lousy readers (and given that my tastes are strange) my baited hooks don’t draw many nibbles. Still, of the ten or so there, I’ve noticed that two are missing. But that’s okay. I’ve got more replacements, including Homeward Bound, which I’ll be reviewing next week. And then you’ll see why I’m giving that one up.
But if you do want it, I’ll tell you where you can find it. For free!