Eliminating the Possible


Urgency Day: 487

500 Things Item 12: The Cunning Man (hardcover)

Item 13: Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (hardcover)

Item 14: Renegade: The Making of a President (hardcover)

  • Bought, bought, passed along
  • Not his best, not the best collection, old-news
  • No parting pain
  • Donations

As my dear-old-dad used to say, “The handwriting’s on the wall.”

I can easily see that culling the library will be my go-to method of playing catch-up on my project. I needed two items for Saturday and Sunday and one for today to get back on track. Three books out, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

I wish I could report that I had been having a blast this past weekend, out living a “blog-worthy” life. Alas, I was flat on my back, recuperating. And incompletely, at that. I even had to miss attending a local Gluten-Free Fair with my friend Melanie (sorry again, Melanie!). I was really looking forward to some g-f goodies and time with a sympathetic friend.

I also wish I could say with absolute honesty that it was entirely the call of my project that lured me off my chaise and spurred me to determinedly open (*siku) my laptop this Monday morning, despite still feeling pretty wretched. Again not, strictly speaking, the truth.

(*siku: split infinitive knowingly used. Thanks Donna!)

I got out of bed, because I need to ship that stupid Hummel and I’m afraid if I don’t, my eBay selling approval percentage will suffer. Those Hummel people have really spooked me!

On eBay, it’s all about the selling approval percentage. You gotta have a good SAP or no one will do business with you. Also key: avoiding the electronic wrath of certain lock-step, on-message groups. (wink,wink)

But the books.

Back in yesteryear, Paul introduced me to the wonderful writer Robertson Davies. His What’s Bred in the Bone is still a favorite, one of those stand-by choices I go to when I’m in limbo on the library waiting-list for my next book or the book I just finished is still resonating too much to make an easy transition.

Do you know that feeling? You just want something comfortable, familiar, reliably wonderful. I suspect everyone has a few of these. Beside What’s Bred, my list would include:

  • Possession by A.S Byatt
  • The Lord of the Rings (natch) and
  • The Letters of JRR Tolkein
  • A Fish Caught in Time by Samantha Weinberg

What’s on your go-to list?

Backlists of favorite writers can be good, too. Sometimes, however, our affection for a writer causes some regrettable purchases. Enter, The Cunning Man. It was a late-career effort that just didn’t sing the way his earlier works had. Of course, there’s nothing unreasonable about maintaining a relationship with an author even once you reckon he’s past his prime. I just wish it had been a library-facilitated date.

Conan Doyle is similarly leaving and not leaving my library. A few years ago, Donna gave Paul a glorious two volume, slip-cased edition of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. He is a fan, but she is a fanatic. Go ahead, ask her anything. Expect to be amazed. Personally, my favorite example of the great detective comes from Star Trek: TNG. But that is elementary, my dears.

I had a moment’s hesitation putting a book called The Cunning Man and a book about President Obama in the same donation pile. Those who know me know there is no sly hidden message here! Maybe if I weren’t in an addled state, I would have lingered longer at the bookshelves to find a less fraught combination, or maybe there’s less potential controversy there than I think. Either way, no editorial comment was intended by this juxtaposition.

My mom, the original Obama-girl, wanted to read Richard Wolfe’s account of the Obama campaign, so while she was visiting last summer, I bought the book for her. We all admire Richard Wolfe’s commentary on MSNBC and the interviews I had heard with him promoting this book were intriguing. It seemed that he would be providing hitherto unknown facts and anecdotes about the long, contentious 2008 presidential campaign. Possibly my mother is too well-read or possibly, like some notorious movie trailers, all the good stuff was in the interviews. But mom gave it only a lukewarm review.

Out it goes.

Three more books out, and I am certainly getting a glimpse of my future Very Streamlined Library. Obviously, it will contain nothing but our treasured favorites: fiction, non-fiction, reference, old and new. One category I suspect will not be represented is current events.

For topical matters, I think the Google machine (and, as always, the library) will suffice.


2 Responses to “Eliminating the Possible”

  1. Toni Says:


    I have to admit it’s my first time checking out your blog. Time got away from me. You have such a gift with words, it amazes me. I can get pretty tongue tied so reading your flow of words is like watching the winter olympics snowboarding. I’m not sure how the they do it but I’m envious of the freedom that must give them. I’m glad you’re feeling less addled. We missed you Monday. Thanks for sharing your experiences , and p.s. I NEED E-BAY LESSONS!

  2. boysgonewild Says:

    I counted 51 books on the mini-shelf next to my bed. FIFTY ONE. I better start working on my top 250 volumes as well.

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