The New Yorker cover for June 10 & 17, 2019 features a cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan, “Bedtime Stories.” A couple in their bed, horrified, on each side of the bed a stack of books on the nightstand. The books reach high over their heads, daunting, frightening, ominous. I can relate.
When I moved from the East Coast to Colorado, I had divested myself of all my books, TADA! What freedom. I drove west with my dog and two suitcases. I had sold, given away, given back a solid wall of words. Life pared down to simplicity.
But … once I nestled in the shadow of the Rockies, the books crept back, bookish bipeds, and they arranged for the installation of shelving in my office and the delivery of two heirloom barrister bookcases. And they arranged to buy the rough-stone bookends on the shelf behind me where an olio of little books reside, saucy, smug. Then there are boxes of the books I’ve written. I can’t be blamed for keeping extra copies of my own work, now, can I? Well, maybe, but your sneers don’t scare me.
Yesterday my friend Cyndeth and I visited half a dozen or so “little libraries”–those urban sidewalk cupboards meant for the sharing of books. Take a book, leave a book. We left several in each box, took none. So now I have one last bag of books to deliver to the donation bin. Take that, you sneaky tomes, smug paperbacks, darling little anthologies. I’m through hoarding books. Yes, really … I am.