Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Downside to Loving Books

Here we go again: Packing boxes with everything we own, this time to move to Nashville, Tennessee, where we will live less than ten minutes from our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren! As with every move I've ever made, the hardest part is packing the books. At least they fit into boxes well, but I spend far too much time putting them together by my odd categories. I'm even trying to weed out books I might take to the used book store. After trying to read a mass market paperback copy of Michener's The Source, I realize my eyes can't read that small print anymore.

I'm also farming out books I love to friends who haven't read them yet. The odds of getting the books back some day are higher--with the added benefit of seeing my friends here in North Carolina again. I also have books set aside for some of my favorite Young Adult readers. (Some are actually young adults themselves!)

I've come across several books that are worn either from re-reading or from teaching over and over. In the photo here I feature my copy of The Prince of Tides, which may be tattered in part because my sister threw it across the room when she read it.  the middle copy is John Knowles' A Separate Peace, which I taught over and over (even though I learned that if I showed the film I should stop it before they start singing their song about Hitler's genitalia over and over and over). At the bottom, also rubber banded is Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain. I have a hardback first edition, signed by the author, but this is the paperback I used to teach the book in AP English for years. When I bought the paperback it was packaged with a "soundtrack to the book," long before the movie, by Tim O'Briens, John Herrmann, and Dirk Powell.

I've also had occasion to recommend books I've loved to friends who missed them the first go around: Stout's Olive Kitteridge and Wroblewski's  The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.  To be honest, if I had time, I'd re-read them myself. Even some of my old classics have beckoned: Watership Down  and The Once and Future King.

But I don't have much time to read right now. I'm packing.

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