Thursday, June 21, 2007

Clearing Out the Bookshelves

bookshelves filled with books

Jon Carroll has a wonderful column in the San Francisco Chronicle about clearing out his bookshelves. Just a couple quotes, which illustrate two good reasons for deciding to part with a book:

"The Keep" by Jennifer Egan. A hard call. I liked the book a lot; I would recommend that you read it. Apparently, her "Look at Me" is an even better book, and gosh darn it I'm going to read it someday. But this is not an awards ceremony; this is a housecleaning. What are the odds I will read this book again? Zero. Does it have any sentimental value? Nope. Is the author likely to come to my home and surreptitiously look at my bookshelves? If only. So someone else should get a chance to read this book, and I should get 1 more inch of shelf space.

"The Map of Love" by Ahdaf Soueif. Booker Prize finalist! "Intensely engaging" -- New York Times Book Review. "An intense, impressive love story set in turn-of-the-century Egypt" -- New York Daily News. "Been sitting on my nightstand for two years and I have yet to make it past Page 51" -- Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle. I'm sure this is a fine book. I urge people who enjoy love stories set in turn-of-the-century Egypt to read it. But I must break through my denial. I have not read it, and I will not read it, and it must be cast back into the ocean of readers, where it may find more sympathetic eyeballs.

The whole column is definitely worth a read (as are many of his columns).

[Photo by Swiv / Hannah Swithinbank]

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