Monday, June 06, 2011

on weeding our book collection (post 4 of ?)

Last week I went into New York City for the day. I wanted something to read on the train and I didn't want to bring my Nook so I decided to grab a book from one of our weeded boxes. I figured that if I brought one that was already registered on BookCrossing, I could wild-release it on the train when I disembarked. Getting rid of said book would also help offset any Strand purchases I might make. That was the plan.

The book I grabbed was Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik.

Paris to the Moon isn't a novel (my literary drug of choice). It's a group of essays that cobbled together serve as a memoir of the author's time living in Paris with his young family (interesting, but not the most compelling of all subjects). Because my copy is a BookCrossing book, I can look at its history and note that I've had it in my possession since February 2006. I'd had the book for over 5 years and hadn't once picked it up to read. It seems perfectly reasonable for me to banish Paris to the Moon from my library.

I started reading Paris to the Moon on the train. When I arrived in the city, I elected not to leave it on the train so that I'd have could read it on my end-of-the-day commute (why did I do this if I already planned to go to the Strand at lunchtime? obviously I was going to buy books at the Strand, I'd said so). I didn't read Paris to the Moon on my way home. I read one of my new acquisitions (The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer). Yet I couldn't bring myself to leave Paris to the Moon on the train when I arrived at my destination.

Why? Well, once I actually started reading the book I remembered why I wanted to read it in the first place. There's the title, which is appealing in and of itself and becomes more so when its origin is explained. Gopnik is a great writer (he's a longtime contributor to The New Yorker), his prose is both sensitive and atmospheric. Oh, and I love Paris. So, even though I didn't want to read Paris to the Moon more than my bright, shiny, new book, I couldn't bear to let it go without reading it. I'm not nearly at good at letting go of things as I like to think I am.1 I lost this battle to the book hoarder.

Paris to the Moon is now sitting on a box that we haven't managed to unpack yet. I should probably migrate it to one of my bookshelves.
  1. Actually I know that this is not my strong suit. It's much easier if I don't put myself in a position where I can have second thoughts. When we were trying to downsize before the move, having Russell take out the stuff we'd decided to get rid of while I was off at work made things so much easier for me.

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