November 26, 2005

The New Purge

Here's the first set of books being purged this go-round. There will likely be more, but this is probably the lion's share.

Baghdad-By-The-Bay, by Herb Caen. This was one of my mom's books. I thought I might read it; I've since decided that San Francisco is insufficiently interesting.

Gardens of the Moon, by Steven Eirikson. This is the first book in a series entitled "The Malazon Book of the Fallen." I liked this book well enough, and I'd like to read the rest of the series some day. This, however, is a hardback I got as a review copy, and it takes up more than its share of space.

Hawkes Harbor, by S.E. Hinton. Yet another review hardback. Not a bad book, but not a favorite, and I need the space.

The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold. I think we were given this. We've had it for some time, neither Jane nor I has been moved to read it, and it's a hardback.

What If? 2, edited by Robert Cowley. This is a collection of essays by noted historians on what might have been if critical moments in history had gone differently. It was Christmas gift, and one chosen carefully to appeal to my tastes, and I received it happily. Alas, I didn't like it.

How To Read A Book, by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren. I read some of this; but I've come to the conclusion that I'm insufficiently anal-retentive to ever study a book in the detail or manner they recommend. Learning styles differ, I guess.

Agile Software Development with Scrum, by Schwaber and Beedle. An interesting book, I guess, but not interesting enough to finish.

The Weird Colonial Boy, and And Disregards The Rest, by Paul Voermans. I picked these up during a visit to Victoria, B.C. maybe ten years ago; Voermans is an Australian science fiction author, and the books caught my eye for some reason. I've never felt moved to re-read them; what I chiefly remember is that it was in one of them that I first encountered the topic of chicken-sexing.

Competitions, by Sharon Green. I rather tore this one apart when I reviewed it some while back. 'nuff said.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard. This was recommended to me, and I read quite a bit of it, but I'm afraid it never really grabbed me.

Lord of the Far Island, by victoria Holt. I'm not entirely sure how we acquired this book; I think we got it ten or fifteen years ago from a friend who was purging her book collection. What's certain is that neither Jane nor I has ever been moved to read it.

An Edge in My Voice, by Harlan Ellison. I went through a real Ellison phase quite a long while ago now. The man writes well, but I find the prospect of curling up with a book of his essays no longer appeals; I can easily get my daily dose of vitriol on the 'Web.

Stagestruck Vampires, by Suzy Mckee Charnas. A review copy I simply shouldn't have accepted; I don't like vampires. It's well-written, but not at all my kind of thing.

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, by Jorge Amado. I picked this up during one of my occasional excursions out of genre fiction. I enjoyed it, but I've no desire to re-read it.

Benchley Lost And Found, by Robert Benchley. This is a short collection of some of Benchley's humorous essays. Somehow the idea was more interesting in theory than in practice.

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. OK, so this is a classic of American Literature. I've read it twice now, once in high school and once a few years ago; I figure I've done my bit. If I ever feel moved to read it again, I'm sure I'll be able to locate a copy.

E=mc2, by David Bodanis. I feel odd getting rid of this one, but I never finished it, and although the position of the bookmark indicates I got three-quarters of the way through it I can't remember any of it.

Little Altars Everywhere, by Rebecca Wells. We inherited this from my mom, and have tired of it knocking around the house. Jane might have read it, I dunno.

How To Clean Practically Anything, published by Consumer Reports. Jane decided she didn't want to keep this. Given that this kind of thing is readily available on the 'Web, and given that we'd be unlikely to know where the book was when wanted, that's probably the right decision.

Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. Duplicate copy.

Hard Rain, and The Streetbird, by Janwillem van de Wetering. I read these based on a recommendation from one of my correspondents, and I wanted to enjoy them; however, I didn't like them much. Something about the author's attitude put me off.

Most of The Most of S.J. Perelman, by S.J. Perelman. Another humorist; the book had its moments, but in quantity Perelman's appeal palled rather quickly.

Idlewild, and Eden-born, by Nick Sagan. Two more review copies of books which were merely OK.

Take a Thief, by Mercedes Lackey. I do not read Mercedes Lackey; I read some of her early books avidly enough, but found them nauseating when I went back to re-read them. Since then, I've avoided her books. Possibly she's improved. Jane bought this one, but was content to let it go.

Arabesques, Arabesques 2, edited by Susan Shwartz. These are a pair of anthologies of fantasy tales with a more-or-less Arabian setting. I remember very little about them, so I'm content to let them go.

1632 by Eric Flint. Duplicate.

The Cat Who Talked To Ghosts, by Lilian Jackson Braun. I went off this mystery series quite an amazingly long time ago; Jane bought this one. She was willing to let it go, though, so maybe all of the others I've got boxed up can go too!

No Secrets, by Lance Rucker. Another review copy. Not bad, not great, not worth keeping.

Bicycling Through Space And Time, The 22nd Gear, The Ultimate Bike Path, by Mike Sirota. Somewhat amusing, as I recall....but in all the years I've had these, I've never been tempted to re-read them. Out they go!

Essential Writings, by G.K. Chesterton. The writings might be essential, but this collection of them is not. Get Orthodoxy instead.

The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible. This was one of my mom's books. It's massive, takes up a lot of space, and given what I've been learning about the state of biblical scholarship in the 20th century, is probably suspect. Without knowing more about the scholarship behind it, I'm not interested; and I don't tend to consult commentaries anyway.

Ancient Egypt: Discovering its Splendors, published by the National Geographic Society. This is a massive coffee table book filled with pictures of Egyptian antiquities. The pictures are good, but the size is not.

Beautiful California, published by Sunset Magazine. Another of my mom's coffee-table books, this one is filled with pictures of California. It dates from the year I was born, which is the most interesting thing about it. Yet another book that's just too darn big. Tell Lileks he can have it if it wants it.

Middlemarch, by George Eliot. I got this many years ago when a friend was culling her own library and I was experimenting with English novels (Trollope, etc.). I never got around to reading, and I'm not all sure I ever will. As with The Great Gatsby, I'm sure I'll be able to find a copy if I want one.

Beach Music, by Pat Conroy. I picked this up on a recommendation back in 1997, and have never been moved to read it. The statute of limitations has expired, and out it goes.

The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser. I picked this up while working on a novel called The King of Elfland's Nephew which might see the light of day at some point. I've since decided that Orlando Furioso covers the same territory and is more fun.

If You Want To Write, by Brend Ueland. Not a bad book; but I've read it. I took a creative writing class some years ago, and under its influence I bought a fair number of books about writing. Most of them are about unfettering your inner spirit, silencing your inner editor, and letting the words fall where they may. Fact is, I don't regard writing as a magical expression of my inner spirit; I regard it as a way communicating what I want to say, one word after another. Now, writers I respect recommended this book...but there's no royal road to success as a writer. To lose weight, you need to exercise and control your diet; to write well, you need to read a lot and write a lot. Books like this one are mostly of use, I think, to those who freeze when confronted with a blank screen.

Writing Down The Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. Another book on freeing your inner writer. Ueland's better, if memory serves.

Fiction Writer's Workshop, by Josip Novakovich. I must have gotten this one about the same time as Ueland and Goldberg, above, but I remember even less about it.

A Dance to the Music of Time, by Anthony Powell. I bought two volumes of the four volume set a long time ago on the advice of some folks on the rec.arts.books newsgroup. After I finished the first volume I was nonplussed--there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, and a lot of people I didn't much care for, and a lot social maneuvering I found boring, and I asked, "Is this all there is? Does it get better?" I was told, "Yes, what there is is what you've seen, and yes it goes on like that. Sorry you don't like it." Perhaps I'm a philistine; oh, well.

Switching to the Mac, by David Pogue. I switched to the Mac years ago, and this book was quite helpful. I've not had need of it in the longest time, though.

Mac OS X, Second Edition, by David Pogue. Out of date; this was OS X 10.2.x, and I'm now using 10.4.3. It was helpful while I was getting started, though.

Mac OS X Hacks, by Dornfest and Hemenway. Similarly out of date, and not nearly as useful (to me, anyway).

iMovie 3 & iDVD, by David Pogue. Also out of date; I think we're up to iMovie 5 now.

Story of the Irish Race, by Seumas MacManus. Another book we inherited quite a long while ago, and which I've never got around to reading.

Great Books, by David Denby. At 48, the author returns to Columbia University, and takes their Great Books curriculum for a second time, to see if the Great Books are still valid, and to watch the youngsters engage with them. It's an interesting book, but I don't imagine I shall re-read it.

Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James W. Loewen. He's got a valid complaint (the content of most high-school American History texts is not what it should be), but I don't like his solution any better, and anyway he annoys me.

Unreal--Official Strategy Guide, by Craig Wessel. I no longer have a computer capable of playing this game; and I rather expect that all of the essential information is freely available on the 'Web anyway.

Myst: The Official Strategy Guide Revised and Expanded Edition, by Barba & DeMaria. I could get a version of this that runs on my current computer, with some nifty updates....but said updates obsolesce the book, and (again) I'm sure the essential info is available on the 'Web.

Posted by Will Duquette at November 26, 2005 10:02 AM