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 Zanelle on January 22, 2016 at 11:21pm

Great book shelf.  I don't keep one wants to read what I read..sigh.   move em along.  hmmmm  you inspire

Comment by tr ig on January 23, 2016 at 11:56am

Yeah so this is a little bit fun isn't it. Smiley thing. 

I was buzzed as I fixed my bedroom shelf. My mind was open and waxed nostalgic as I remembered this or that from the books themselves, or what my life was like at the time of reading, or in many cases, re-reading. When I was young, even as far back as grade school, I read a lot. I remembered what my junior high library looked like and some of the characters from real life back then, my few friends, even the smell (it was next to the cafeteria). There I first found Carlos Casteneda's Journey to Ixtlan and was lured in by the cover photo, which led me to his other books, which led me to follow his writings all my life (until he passed the Eagle) as they came out (note to self: re-buy everything ever written by Carlos and read them all once again, in order). Life changing stuff right there, for me. These days, I have the hardest time reading an actual book. It takes a concerted effort to find, or make, quiet time, then to sit the fuck down and read in earnest. Did however, this last year, read several REAL books (e-books .. I don't think so). I read Jean-Paul Sarte's "Nausea"--inspired by our dear friend Emmerling most recently. Always liked existentialism, Albert Camus' (friend of Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir) The Stranger may be my favorite in that category, also read the first time as a very young person. Etc.. still reminiscing.

Comment by Julie Johnson on January 24, 2016 at 9:43pm

I usually pop in and read here, in the mornings.  I think I've read everything and the comments, but going down the whole line this evening, just so I could go thru everybody book cases I have found so much more!  This has been great fun, tr ig.  

Comment by vzn on February 8, 2016 at 10:12am

really nice looking bookcase. reminds me of all the cleaning put off in my own superb man cave, collecting dustbunnies and detritus also, over a decades worth now... yikes. are bookcases slowly becoming a thing of the past, the older generation, in this age of iphones & ipads & ebooks & web sites & social media? yikes.

Comment by vzn on February 8, 2016 at 10:12am

ps JME RIP. ah the story of the weed in the book, how apropos/ symbolic of JME. but not following how the book could have made it but the weed didnt.

Comment by tr ig on February 8, 2016 at 10:29am

vzn if I'm correctly following here what you're not following, well, it's like this. Long ago, Margaret F. sent me a couple of books that she thought had similar irreverent real life reporting "style" as my own, her idea being that anyone can be published. Right. So, one of them "Shit My Dad Says" (check it out .. funny as hell) I'd already read twice and was in one of those manic e-mail modes with Emmerling, and this before anyone besides aka knew of a brewing bloggeromance between Jim and Marg. OK so JME mentioned how the meds he was taking didn't help much and something about side-effects, and I happened to have some really fresh high medical grade marijuana so asked him if some of that might help, and the answer was YA! So, once again this stuff was fresh---I pressed four or five flowers flat between the pages in four or five locations of Shit My Dad Says ... so my question was, did the book, sent to JME in Connecticut make it with him to Margaret's in Columbus O., full circle. Only an assumption on my part that the flowers probably certainly did not.


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