Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Read Something

Yesterday I found myself with five minutes to spend in the library by myself. The book I wanted wasn't in (and won't be for a while with nine holds on it), so I wandered through the new book section, scanning the shelves for anything I recognized from WSJ book reviews. Alas, the only title I could both remember and locate was not something I felt like reading. 

What did I feel like reading? I narrowed it down as I rejected various options.
  • a slender volume
  • something fairly light
  • not Austen fanfic
  • not by Margaret Atwood
  • not about people having affairs
  • not part of a series
  • not about politics
This via mostly-negativa did not net me a book from the new books section, but it did help me clarify that what I probably wanted to read was Barbara Pym. But my time was up, and I had to leave emptyhanded. It's not like I don't have books at home to read, heaven knows.

Speaking of books to read, we made a pilgrimage down to IKEA to replace the shelves that have stood so faithfully since we've been married. "Stood" is not accurate anymore; they lean in a distinctly non-reassuring fashion now, supported by each other or what furniture is wedged next to them. IKEA is not the ne plus ultra of furniture, sure, and the style isn't exactly in sync with our house, but when you need sturdy bookcases yesterday, it's useful.

Now our living room is full of cardboard flatpacks waiting to test our screwdrivers and our patience. I've made noise about how we need to weed down our books -- it pains me to let any go, but we have books that are missing covers, missing pages, falling apart, etc. Those are the easy choices, I guess, but harder to discern are things like the large number of Landmark and Vision biographies, dating to mid-century. I remember devouring those as a child, but it is pulling teeth to get our children to read a biography. Why? Is it the vintage style of these particular books? Why do they detest biography so much? Is it worth the occupied shelf space? 

In other book news, my eight-year-old son has decided to read his first big book, and of course it's Harry Potter. As I make him read aloud at intervals (one of the few qualifications for a reading teacher is the ability to repeat, "Read every letter", or "Look at the word," as many times as necessary without losing patience), I'm struck anew by how poorly written it is. Rowling is a storyteller, but she's no stylist. 

At least he's reading.


Michael said...

when you assemble the IKEA bookcases, if it's the kind with alignment dowels, use wood glue in each dowel hole as you slot the sides, top, and bottom together. The metal hardware will eventually loosen and wiggle, but glue will hold strong permanently. As long as you don't care about ever re-flat-packing the stuff, this is the best way to get long service out of IKEA furniture. Ditto also for the thin backing sheet — the small nails will eventually pull out, but a little glue goes a long way.

mrsdarwin said...

Good advice! We'll be trying this tonight.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

One of the things that made me so fond of biography as a child was that the school library only allowed us to check out two books at a time, and one of them had to be nonfiction. Biography had a storyline so it was usually my second book. In Dewey Decimal folk and fairy tales are also shelved with the nonfiction, so that was another frequent choice for me.

Kelly said...

I will totally take those biographies off your hands if you decide to clear them out! And give them back if you decide you've made the wrong decision. ;)

MDiskin said...

Ooooh! Backup on those Bios. Please? (yes, I'm delurking for Landmarks)