Deep Cull, Shallow Cull

After a long period thinking about it, I finally got around to downsizing my book collection. Some of my books I read on a regular  basis, and others have sentimental value for me, but few are what anyone would call a collectible, and there are plenty I don’t read, don’t particularly like, and would be better off without — could theoretically be better off without, hence the equivocation/procrastination incubation period…

But I’m doing it. What triggered all this sudden activity was something that happened during my recent search (for that book on Indian Paths), which unearthed a bunch of other books I realized I hadn’t thought about in a while.

There was one I ran across called Deep Survival, which I bought years ago, disliked, and never finished. I picked it up and started reading again, and was intrigued enough to continue for a bit. But like the first time, my annoyance grew as I continued reading, and though this time I did make it through to the end, I had to force myself to finish. My original assessment stands: the author had a fetish for fighter-pilot types — which was his own background and also that of his father — and the book was an unfocused paean to militaristic, “can-do” attitudes. I was so annoyed I decided to get rid of the book, and to rid my collection of others I don’t want to ever read again. I made a discard pile, and at the start of a recent hike I took it over to one of those free mini-libraries nearby and made a donation.

Unfortunately, when I got home I found I’d left the Deep Survival book behind, so I started making another cull pile. That’s when I realized I really had two piles to make: one of books I definitely don’t want, and another of books that I probably wouldn’t want, but never read through to the end, and should finish before discarding — I guess you could say I’m back to sentimentalizing/procrastinating…

The first book I took up was Alan Garner’s Red Shift, which so far seems better than I remember, though it has its annoyances: it reads like YA literature (which it is, kind of), and everyone seems to be named either John or Tom, and it has the clever clipped dialogue that reminds me of all the other late-Sixties-early-Seventies British YA literature I’ve been annoyed with (and subsequently forgotten) over the years. I’m about halfway through, and I really am enjoying it, but I can already tell it’s going in the discard pile.

What comes next? I have a lot of choices…


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