« Case closed. | Main | Political sight gag »

Sailors on Shore Leave, Part 2*


The Andersons are a family of obsessed book lovers. Our shelves are filled to overflowing, and both the attic and basement of our house are filled with boxes of books which we don't have shelf space for but which we can't quite part with. But today we did some parting. The Will County Land Use Department is holding its annual Book Reuse & Recycling Event - you just bring in your unwanted books and take away as many as you like, with any books left over after the weekend being properly recycled by the county. I had a large bin of books that were unshelved during home renovations last fall and which didn't make the cut when it came time to reshelve. So we hauled along the bin and spent a delightful few hours at the Pilcher Park Nature Center going around the tables again and again, looking both for books we might have missed the first time around as well as fresh new arrivals. If you live in the Joliet area I highly recommend checking out next year's event.

Our culling mission was fairly successful, as we only came home with two-thirds as many books as we donated. Though I showed considerable constraint, and though my to-read pile hardly needed bulking up, I couldn't avoid coming home with nine books, which are part of the right-hand stack shown above. They are: Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own; Leonard Michaels, The Men's Club; The Dimensions of the Short Story: A Critical Anthology; Ring Lardner Jr., The Ecstasy of Owen Muir; Franz Kafka, The Trial (the original Willa & Edwin Muir translation; I previously owned this exact edition but misplaced it somewhere); Studs Terkel, Working (Julie found this - I thought I already owned it, which turned out not to be the case), Michael Harrington, The Other America: Poverty in the United States ("The book that sparked the War on Poverty"); Short Story Masterpieces (this copy is pretty banged up and I almost put it back before seeing that it included Nelson Algren's "A Bottle of Milk for Mother" - any book that properly puts the literary outsider Algren alongside the canon-ites Hemingway, Lawrence and Faulkner just had to come home with me); and Jack London, Stories of the North.

And, incidentally, the entire left-hand stack in the photo are Maddie's books. Clearly, Julie and I have indoctrinated her quite well.

(*That subject line references our previous bulk book acquisition, in February 2006. I'm pleased to report that of the sixteen books mentioned there, I've read nine - D'Ambrosio, Caldwell, Joyce, Melville, Trillin, Forster, Commodify Your Dissent, John Brown and the novellas collection. Nine of sixteen might not sound like much, but for me it's a huge accomplishment.)

September 13, 2008 in Books | Permalink


Wow! I wonder if they would have taken all of my old World Book encyclopedias.

Posted by: Paul Lamb at Sep 14, 2008 4:48:18 PM