Saturday, June 06, 2009

Revolving Shelves

One of the things that drove my first husband crazy was that my book collection was always in flux. He had every book that he'd ever owned in his life and I presume that he still does. It made him uneasy that I could let books come and go so blithely. There have been times that I've kicked myself for letting things go (like some of the Pulitzers, before I got serious about collecting), but someone who belongs to both Bookcrossing and Bookmooch is probably going to be pretty easygoing about giving up books.

This week found me in swapping mode. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I teach a hellishly early morning class in the Global Village lounge on campus. This lounge has a bookshelf that I've eyed with some interest for a few weeks. When I spotted The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies and Billy Bathgate by E.L. Doctorow, I went home, meditated on my shelves and swapped a couple of John Grisham books for the objects of my desire. My conscience hurt me a little because literary-wise, I got the better deal, but I was able to salve it a bit by noting that the Grishams are in pristine condition while the Davies and Doctorow are ratty-looking and have obviously been through several humid summers here.

Come Saturday morning, I was back at What The Book? with a bagful of books that I can live without, seeking credit for new treasures. Here's what I found:

Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston.
I've had an eye open for this novel for about a year now, after another blogger reviewed it.

Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S Truman- Merle Miller.
Last winter, when I was home, my mom was going through some old papers belonging to my grandparents and she found a 1942 letter from Senator Truman confirming that my grandfather had received his appointment to be postmaster of Triplett, Missouri and warmly congratulating him. A brilliant double score would have been also finding the McCullough biography of Truman, but no joy.

A Single Shard - Linda Sue Park.
I'm attracted to this Newbery winner because the setting is 12th century Korea. I found Park's Seesaw Girl to be a little depressing, but I admire the historical detail.

One of these days, I'll have to do an "opposite" post in which I list the books I own that I wouldn't give up without some sort of struggle -- if at all.


bkclubcare said...

Darn, I wish I still had my copy of Truman to send you. VERY VERY COOL abt the letter from Harry!

ambearo said...

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a great book!

G. Freeman said...

Great post. If you wanna see quickly all the best places to buy, sell or trade your books online check out this online directory ... at

Bybee said...

I'm gonna try to score a copy when I'm in the States later this month. Yes, it was exciting. My grandparents revered Truman and now I see why.

Maybe you and I were discussing this book.

G. Freeman,
Are you Glen Freeman that was in 5th grade with me?

Heather J. said...

THEIR EYES is one of my all-time favorite books - can't wait to see what you think of it when you finally read it. :)

Carrie K said...

I kept my old books at one time too but then I realized I was going to be living in a untenable maze at some point.

I really want to read your list of books you wouldn't give up. It can be really hard to cull! (It can be really easy too.)

Jhon Smith said...

iT sEEMS tO bE A nICE bLOg.
cARRy oN.
shopping website

Susan said...

I almost picked up There Eyes WEre Watching God a few weeks ago! I think we read the same blogger review! lol so I'm anxious for your review next....

and congratulations on finding that letter, what a find.

Yes, please DO give us a list of the books you couldn't bear to part with!! Pretty please?

Gentle Reader said...

I really enjoyed Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hope you do, too!

Also, I've given you an award--come check it out:

Yes, because you are awesome!

J.Danger said...

I used to be like your first husband. Now- you want it- TAKE IT.

Eva said...

I've learned to let go in the past few years; my friends and family are always amazed! Their Eyes Were Watching God is sooooo good.

Sue F. said...

I would love to see a list of books that you wouldn't give up...what an interesting idea! Has me thinking!

ambearo said...

I'd also like to see the list of books you wouldn't give up!! BTW, I'm trying to incorporate some book reviews into my blog. Tell me what you think... I miss having a book club to chat with!