For the first time in nearly two decades, I am not surrounded by books.
Well, let me clarify: I am not inundated by books stacked around me in every room in the house.
That doesn't mean I don't have books in the house. And it's not even my house!
Last summer, Carole helped me "de-clutter" my library so the amount of books I had actually fit within the bookshelves. (I know, where is the fun in that?) Rest assured, it was for a good cause: the house was on the market, and professionals recommended implementing the "d" word.
What that meant was the boxing of about 20 boxes of books. Give or take, that is; I didn't count. I just closed my eyes and received the books Carole handed me. We weeded out the ones I wasn't reading at the moment, added the ones I was unlikely to re-read in the immediate future, and made the remaining ones look like they were meant to be there. Carole arranged the ones that remained with attractive, bookish knickknacks from her own shelves, rescued some from mine, and displayed them in a lovely fashion.
It was that room that sold the house.
Oh, don't misunderstand me: the new kitchen floor wasn't a washout and the couch set off the living room. However, it was the love on those shelves that made someone think about how they would love that house, too — and, apparently, see beyond the cat scratching posts flanking the front door.
However, now... Now I have half a box of books in a cube in Alicia's guest room.
Well, that's how it started. Then I found Summer of Night by Dan Simmons tucked, unread, on her bedroom shelves, and that was promptly plopped on the air purifier.
Then I was lured into the library book sale and found myself the new owner of a stack of books, including new-to-David Dean Koontz and, for me, American Wife (which had good reviews and I had meant to read when it first came out). And a few more titles that looked delicious... With hardback novels priced at a dollar and the money funding library programs, who was I to deny the Friends of the Library a few shekels in exchange for books?
Alicia made a Marge Simpson sound when she saw them stacked on the shoe holder that evening. "Okay, but no more books!" she declared, the only sane person in the house. David and I nodded. We could comply.
That is, until the latest Borders coupon was too much to resist. I had managed to walk out of the store without A Discovery of Witches enough times to make me feel pious, and the box of books we took to Alicia's house was still buried. I could see the end of At Home looming on the horizon: what was I to do? I was too excited to not tell Alicia. She just shook her head.
Then I dropped off some items at the local thrift store with low prices and a decent selection of books. I told myself that one book was going to the Lunchroom Lending Library at work, one was for David and the other two... well, I'd give them away when I finished them. Really.
I showed Alicia the first one, for David, which appeared work-related. "Eat This, Not That? I've seen that at the bookstores," she said. Then she saw the others. "And where are these going?" she asked.
"One is going to work," I responded weakly.
She sighed. I was officially incorrigible. (Which was not news to either of us.)
I am sated — for now. I have plotted them carefully: first, I finish Summer of Night. That will take me a few days. After that, I will follow up that with the new-to-me Penny Vincenzi in the box we brought with us, then dive right into Witches.
At least, that's the plan. I've had a few more titles suggested to me, and I've unfrozen my library reservation list, so I might have a few new titles from which to choose.
What other titles can you suggest to lure me off the straight-and-narrow? Tempt me with your suggestions!