The Books On My Shelf --- open call

When people compliment me on my deck building skills I always say something like "well, it's my gig. It's what I do. We all have certain skills and deck building happens to be one of mine. That said, I can't change my own oil. Decks, frisbee and fishing ... good to excellent. Vehicle maintenance, totally worthless. Is what it is."

One of my other talents, and I may well be the very best on the planet procrastination. I am stupid good at delaying the performance of self-assigned trivial tasks, and even better if they are girlfriend assigned tasks. The possibility exists that I may just be inherently lazy. It's a problem.

Yesterday however I'd had enough and decided I was going to actually accomplish something from my own long list---clean and straighten up my bookshelf. I made the thing myself a dozen or so years ago, from cedar and exotic purple heart, so naturally I like my bookshelf, but for three years it's sat there in that same spot, next to my side of the bed (yes, we have sides), collecting dustbunnies, carpenter's pencils, pocket change, glasses cases, guitar picks, miscellaneous burnt pieces of candle, and a small sack of coal pulled from a vein in West Virginia. Books, read or partially read, littered the top along with old curled photographs of varying levels of importance. It had to be done, and not next year but this!

It took an hour. Like always, the onerous task I'd put off for a year or more was no huge deal. One hour .. perhaps less. 

While I dusted and sorted I noticed that I have an, uh, interesting assortment of reading material. Some from thrift or used book stores, some ordered online, some permanently borrowed ... even some that I pulled out of a flooded demo home in New Orleans in '06. Several, I have no clue how they came to rest on my shelf.. Some in pristine condition, some  tattered and yellowed and lacking covers. Most I've read but others, never. There are books written by blogging associates Tom Cordle and Mark Pritchard (Sirenita's husband). The books Margaret Feike sent me are there, except one of them called "Shit My Dad Says" that I re-sent to Jimbo Emmerling with some weed flowers flattened inside, during a time of his need. Then, he was in Connecticut. I wondered if the book made it with him, full circle, to Margaret's in Ohio. I know the flowers didn't.

Right, so I wondered as I 'worked' what a person's particular books, collected over the years, mean about the person. If anything. 

And I had an idea. Yes, an idea! To list my book's titles and authors here, in order left to right, as they sit on my bookshelf, top shelf only though. Then to see if others here have any interest in doing the same. This is what we used to refer to in blogging as an "OPEN CALL." So, have at it, if you will. This could be insightful, or at the least interesting, I thought.

To self: "yes, you are a genius!"

So here they are ----

King Lear - Shakespeare

One - Richard Bach (of Jonathan Livingston Seagull fame)

Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand 

Nothing to Envy - Barbara Demick (based on interviews with North Koreans who managed to escape to the south)

The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Don Quixote - Cervantes

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Shakespeare

The Prayer of Jabez - Bruce Wilkinson

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

New World Thesaurus - Webster's

Jitterbug Perfume - Tom Robbins

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson

Moby Dick - Herman Melville

The Jungle - Upton Sinclair

On the Road - Jack Kerouac

Republic - Plato

The Splendid Century - W.H. Lewis

Another Roadside Attraction - Tom Robbins

Once By the Early Autumn Leaves - Carolyn Barber (published after her passing 12/12/2014)

The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster

The Bible - King James version

The bible was a gift from my Mom and her sister the Reverend Doctor at our family reunion in Beaver, West Virginia, to Eli my son for his 18th birthday, just before he left for Navy bootcamp in July 2011. Written by Mother's hand inside is a little note to Eli along with this ... "Isaiah chapter 40, verses 28-31." She, Mom, has since died; curiosity led me to look up the chapter and verses, hoping to understand her meaning, her message to her first grandson. Not a believer myself, nor is Eli, but for what it's worth ....

Isaiah chapter 40

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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Comment by Rosigami on January 22, 2016 at 12:18pm

What a great idea. I like your post and your list, and have read many of them, but not all.
I may take you up on this open call thangy, Trig. 

Comment by koshersalaami on January 22, 2016 at 12:20pm
Beautiful shelf
Can't help with the books. Don't read or especially reread enough books.

But you're an amateur procrastinator. There are piles of paper on my dresser and bedroom floor that include credit card receipts that could easily be two to four years old. And I'm the least messy person in my house.
Comment by alsoknownas on January 22, 2016 at 12:33pm

Never put off until tomorrow, something you could put off until the day after that.

I have a few of those as well. I keep a bag of books by my chair in the living room.

"Are you ever going to put those away?"

 " No, if I can't touch it, it doesn't exist."

Read the Tom Robbins stuff 40 years back.

John Lennon's obscure books are on my shelf.

Books by Raymond Carver and Sherman Alexie.

One of my favorites is Studs Terkel's "Working". Another is "Spoon River Anthology" by Edgar Lee Masters.

 I have collected works of Twain,  Kesey, Poe and all the murder mysteries of local writer Phillip Margolin.

Another good one is the history of Portland's underbelly. Phil Stanford is the author.

"Mavo" is a favorite. A friend wrote it.

Books on guitar playing. Messy piles of sheet music.

I have a RSV of The Bible with my name in gold letters on the front.

That's some of what I remember is there.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on January 22, 2016 at 12:52pm

I'm still trying to get past the point that you think it would take a whole hour to clean and organize a single bookcase.  Get some freaking Geritol or something, FFS.

Comment by nerd cred on January 22, 2016 at 2:31pm

That's a beautiful case, tr ig.

Comment by DaisyJane on January 22, 2016 at 6:18pm

i'll do it!  i even have a story about my bookcase, too!

yours is beautiful.  your book collection, a little over my head.

thanks for a fun task to do right now.

Comment by MarkinKentuckiana on January 22, 2016 at 6:28pm

I second nerd cred's comment - beautiful bookcase.  I have some of the one's you listed - have even read a few of them.

It would take a while to list all of mine - there are seven 5-foot bookcases and one 7-footer behind my recliner at one end of the living room stretching from one side to the other plus two smaller ones in the bedroom.

Many of them have been read and reread - many have never been touched.  I really like to possess books - even more than I like reading them.

My bible is a revised standard edition - one of the ones that's never been touched, but how could you have a collection of books without having a copy of THE book.

Comment by nerd cred on January 22, 2016 at 6:33pm

So, is this open call for just the shelf next to the bed? Just the top shelf (no books there for me), all books being procrastinated? All books? I can't do those last two. And what about the bathroom? That pile?

Comment by Julie Johnson on January 22, 2016 at 6:57pm

Thank you for this!  I hadn't pulled out my Uncle Charlie's book in forever...

Comment by Maui Surfer on January 22, 2016 at 10:59pm

"It took an hour. Like always, the onerous task I'd put off for a year or more was no huge deal. One hour .. perhaps less."

Magnificent; Brautigan-esque!

Because Black Lives Matter my top shelf is right now: Black Like Me, Manchild in the Promised Land, Soul on Ice, Autobiography of Malcom X, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, Island in the Sun, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Don't Stop the Carnival, Sally Hemmings: a Novel, Invisible Man and Middle Passage.

And, I'm about 99% sure at one time a while back The Jungle/On the Road/The Republic were all on there at the same time too.


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