In my battle with books, putting my bookhouse in order, I’ve been separating books to give away and books to keep. The giveaways win by five to one. I can’t believe the books I’ve accumulated with the idea that someday I’d get around to reading them all. I’m guessing that I’ve read about half of what I have, and a good many deserve a second reading. Well, I’ve now decided I don’t have enough time for them all. And I keep buying more books by people I just can’t not read—Lee Child, Robert Crais, Lawrence Block, James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, to name the most prominent. And what about all the dead guys I admire? I’ve read all the 47th Precinct series and the Matthew Hope series by Ed McBain each twice, all the Spenser series By Robert Parker twice, and all the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald thrice. And most of my other favorites are getting long in the tooth and may soon depart, like Block and Burke and Leonard and Deaver.
In my unshelving of books and my fondling them and making the hard decisions about which to keep and which to throw to the wolves, I came upon one of the Jack Reachers by Lee Child, Running Blind. It’s the fourth in the series and I know I’ve read it because I’ve read them all. I just happened to glance inside and read the first page or two . . . or three, and I couldn’t remember it. See, I must be getting closer and closer to that two-book library when I just keep reading the two over and over, not quite remembering what I’d previously read. So, naturally, I read beyond the first three pages and kept right on going. By the time I got through about a third of it, I remembered things from my first reading. But not enough to keep me from reading it again. Man, It’s a good one. But back to the sorting out. I’ve now identified the ones I want to keep. Now comes the task of taking the giveaways out to the garage to join all their kin from last year’s abortive garage sale. Then I need to make signs to put out on the corners of our street—FREE BOOKS AND CD’S!!! COME AND TAKE AS MANY AS YOU WANT! PLASTIC BAGS ARE ON THE HOOK. ENJOY! Then set up tables to hold part of the bounty. Then cart out as many as the tables will hold. Then sit back and hope they all disappear. Then put out another batch the next day and the next and the next until the garage is empty of books and cd’s. Oh, happy day! Oh, sad day.