I Know What I Know

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Shelley and I just got back from having drinks at a colleague’s house with some other friends. It was nice. After browsing the bookshelves, I realized that Denise (the host) was the only other person I know who had read Stephen R. Donaldson’s series of fantasy books. It turns out we’d both read them when we were younger and had been struck by the heightened vocabulary.

I enjoy going to parties only because I get to look at people’s bookshelves. I’m not being a snob. I swear. I don’t care what books are on the shelves. What I find interesting is the organization. Are they alphabetized? Are they placed randomly? Are they grouped by subject? Chronologically?

I always love it when I look at someone’s bookshelf and find, say, Beowulf sandwiched between Barbara Holland’s Endangered Pleasures and Wheeler’s New Women of the New South.

You can learn more about a person from 5 minutes of perusing their shelves than you can from an hour of conversation. Think about it. Different people treat their books in different ways. I destroy my paperbacks. The spines are rolled. They’re held together with rubber bands. I scrawl long notes in the margins.

But most importantly, I read them. Or at least I try to. I’ve read an overwhelming majority of the books I’ve owned.

You can tell because the spines are rolled.


Written by srogers

July 2, 2011 at 2:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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