Wednesday, January 26, 2005

JH - On the Bookshelf

One of the many reasons we're moving is so that we don't have to spend another year fixing up a house and getting rid of "stuff" we don't use, don't need and don't want. Who knows how many more years we have before we shuffle off this mortal coil and do we want to spend them only getting ready to do what we really want to do. Like read. Not just newspapers and magazines, although the ones we look at are interesting and informative. No, I mean a real book with two hard covers and lots of pages in between. Last year I may have read three books all year. This year I'm already on my third. If I can keep up this pace, I may even get to all the books I received last Christmas and might even start in on the ones from this year.

I like to read authors. Once I glom onto someone whose style and substance I like, I tend to read everything they've written that I can get my hands on. Christopher Morley takes up more than one shelf and believe me, his books are not that easy to find, at least not the ones I can afford. The next shelf is shared by George Sand and Thomas Hardy. Although I hardly think that their personalities could stand the closeness, their books seem to have no trouble co-existing. And we're not just talking Tess of the D'Urbervilles here. I have copies of Under the Greenwood Tree, the Trumpet-Major, Two on a Tower and Desperate Remedies.

Then there is the genre/author combo. Here we have dozens of paperbacks by Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason), Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe), and Ellery Queen (well, you know). Library used book sales and garage sales are excellent places for hunting down these beauties. Oh, and there's the complete Sherlock Holmes.

Moving ahead into Contemporary American Fiction we have Keith Mano, Don Delillo and Paul Auster. We've heard Mr. Auster read twice here in the Twin Cities (I believe his wife's family is from this area) and were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to express our appreciation and admiration for his work. Our appreciation has been shown in a more substantial way, since we've purchased all his books.

Next is contemporary humor/satire. Here we find Joe Queenan, P. J. O'Rourke and Christopher Buckley, all three whom we've heard read. Amusing, entertaining gentlemen all. And their books take up another two shelves. Although it's a combination of spy thriller and political essay (the politics might be considered humorous) another complete shelf is Buckely pere, William F.

For sports fans, Mitchell has all the Mike Lupika novels and a complete collection of Dan Jenkins.

In the non-fiction section is the trilogy of "Not So Small House" books by architect Sarah Susanka. In religion we have Belloc, Chesterton and Bishop Sheen. They are good for almost two shelves.

And those are just some of the authors for whom we have three or more books. All in all, we have ten bookcases of various sizes and we're running out of room. So what do we do? Why, of course, buy more books.

And the latest book to throw a writer into my "read the author" category is Interior Desecrations by James Lileks (click on the right to go to his blog site and see for yourself). I got this for Christmas and sat down within a couple of days to read it. Well, read may not be the best term. Staring in drop-jawed disbelief is more like it. Where does he get these pictures and how does he bear to look at them long enough to write the laugh-out-loud funny descriptions that accompany them. Two years ago Christmas I received The Gallery of Regrettable Food. We almost didn't have Christmas dinner that year because I couldn't put the book down long enough to go into the kitchen. I literally almost fell off the couch laughing reading that book. I also recommend Notes of a Nervous Man and the one I'm reading now, Fresh Lies. Poor Mitchell is trying to read the new Tom Wolfe and I keep interrupting him saying, "I just have to read you this one thing."

And that's the mark of the authors who get into my hall of fame, not to mention my wallet.

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