life without books is not worth living

I sold or donated to the library about half of my books when I moved out of the farmhouse. Which means I still had enough to overflow a large, 5-shelf bookcase. I narrowed it down to books I can and have read repeatedly. Everything I kept has been read at least twice.

I decided not to keep many books with me at the ‘rents in Louisiana. The desk in my room has a shelf divided into 3 sections: a middle one that takes up half the space, and 2 on either side of it that are half as wide. The middle section is DVDs I couldn’t live without. The left section is miscellaneous notebooks, Moleskines, stationary, the books that came with my Holga and Diana, etc. And the right section is books. It’s only about a foot wide. (The top is where I keep my cameras.)

Here’s what I elected to keep:

  • The I Trader Joe’s Cookbook by Cherie Twohy. Ironic, as there are no Trader Joe’s in the entire state of Louisiana. But I managed to make a recipe from it a few days ago (maple mustard chicken, which was unequivocally approved of).
  • An Introduction to Quakerism by Pink Dandelion. That is not only the author’s name, it’s a male author’s name. However, I am not done reading this and it may not make the final cut.
  • The Little Prince (hardcover) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
  • The Illustrated Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, with illustrations by Dame Darcy.
  • The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson.
  • World War Z by Max Brooks.
  • Where I Was From by Joan Didion.
  • The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Issa, and Buson.
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
  • Immortal Poems of the English Language, edited by Oscar Williams.
  • 20 Love Poems & A Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda.
  • Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. (How appropriate.)
  • Indian Love Poems
  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

I never realized I read so much poetry before. I was really tempted tp keep at least one William Gibson and Raymond Chandler. But I have all their books, and I hate breaking up sets. I can always check them out from the library or get them out of storage if I have the urge.

If you had to pare your library down to about a dozen books — not get rid of everything, just not be able to keep them in your immediate vicinity — which would they be?

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