Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gluttony of a Kind

First to admit it—I’m out of control and blind to the diminishing space and vanishing dollars brought on by my condition. Compulsion comes in a variety of flavors and it’s probably safe to say that some are less dangerous than others and I have to hope my own falls in that category. There’s a lot of compulsive behavior out there I’m happily immune to, but book buying is not one of them. When it comes to buying books, new or old, reason goes out the door.

Pretty soon the living room sofa will have to go. That or trade in the refrigerator for more bookshelves. Existing shelves are full and the stacks of books on tables, chairs and floor are beginning to lean. When someone comes for dinner it requires ten minutes to shift the stacks off the dining table and squeeze out room for place settings.

The past three days have added six more to the stacks, but fortunately only one of them required an outlay of money, and even then the discount was hefty. A quick word about the six pictured above…

Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, May 2011 — After reading her 2006 Pulitzer Prize winning book, March, I would stand in line to read the author’s grocery list.

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, 1954 — A book I should have read long ago.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, 2010 — In the words of a friend I trust, ‘Drive, don’t walk, to get a copy of A Visit from the Goon Squad. What a voice, different for all the characters, and funny stuff that made me laugh out loud. Been a long time since I laughed like that at something so literary.’

Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham, 2005 — One by the author that I have not read and couldn't turn down the $1.10 price for a first edition in mint condition. Cunningham is best known for The Hours, another Pulitzer Prize winning work.

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly, April 2011 — I’m a Connelly fan, simple as that.

Naoko by Keigo Higashino, 2004 — Ordered this book because I enjoyed his most recent book, The Devotion of Suspect X so much. Higashino is a huge seller in Japan.


  1. Solution is easy: rent the next condo over, knock a hole in the wall, and use it as a library. Or maybe someone has invented bookshelves that hang from the ceiling--kind of like those upside down tomato plants. Short of that, maybe a Fahrenheit 451 bonfire on the beach. As Gertrude Stein meant, "An addiction is an addiction is an addiction" whether applied to collecting books or using crack. Sorry I can't help you. I am jonesing myself.

  2. Being the owner of the condo next door, I wouldn't suggest that you knock a whole in the wall and make an entrance to it to store books. I think the suggestion of the bookshelves that hang from the ceiling or the shelf that runs all around the room way up high would be a solution. I've always thought it was literary looking to have a sliding ladder to climb up and get books off of a high shelf. time has passed and my pastimes are cooking and not collecting books (except for cookbooks), I need a sliding ladder around my kitchen to reach things on the top shelf. Hope you figure out some way to store your books because you certainly wouldn't want to stack them too high on your dining table and block the view of the ocean.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America