I’m never going to read all these books

Dispatches from the Highlands

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Criminy! I see you’ve come across my grand bookcase. These works are like pieces of me, gathered these many years at the times that I need them most, with all the wisdom and guidance of the Greats -- oh, who am I kidding, do you want some? There is no way that I can ever, possibly read all these books.

Here, House of Leaves. Beautiful, but makes no freakin’ sense. And look, I’ve been lugging around HST’s Proud Highway for decades. Decades! I read it once. And then there’s Old Man and the Sea. Want to know why I finished this one? Look at it! It’s a half-centimenter thick! This was back when we didn’t have cell phones to read while we sat on the toilet. Sure, you could eat at a Mexican restaurant back then, spend the night in the bathroom, and be finished with another Vonnegut by daybreak. And Douglas Adams, Oh! Forgive me Douglas, your books ended quicker than we wanted, just like your life. 

But to be clear, do you want this full collection of Hitchhiker’s?

Great googly moogly. These fine collectibles were always the first to be packed from one house move to the next, always felt so good because they just sit so nice and square in boxes. But you tell me what I’m going to do with this copy of The Fountainhead? I recall reading 10 pages and convincing myself that I had far better things to do with my life at the time. Like, dust the mantel, or make a GeoCities page. 

Take this full works of Shakespeare in one, tiny-print anthology. Want it? It makes for a great extra coffee table leg, ha. There’s some good stuff here. Frost. Woolf. TS Eliot. All the beat poets. Some fine American journalism, Capote, Mailer, take a look! All fine writers, some genius! But if I have to be completely real with myself, I have to admit that I will likely never again even peek at their life’s greatest achievements.

Sure, it pains me! I can’t ignore an unspoken commitment to the book, as if I must watch over it and entrust to its next inquisitive owner. But just like all the crap that sits on the mantel, and these horrid pictures on the wall, and the bureau in the parlor, they will never move from their places and be infrequently discussed, for all of my days, until my miserable death some day. But what else are you going to do with 300 pages of observations from Dave Eggers? 

The point is, there’s a box right there, and you’re welcome to take what you can carry. Lord knows I won’t notice.

 

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