Do your stacks stack up?

The last traces of my pre-digital reading life. The top book is The Martian Chronicles.

While reorganizing my house this summer, I stumbled upon a few forgotten books that hearken back to the days before my dear Kindle uncluttered my life. I know some people treasure their physical books as if they unlock some mystical, sensual experience by reading them and– egads– smelling them, but I dislike having a bunch of things around, taking up space and collecting dust. I don’t have to live in a dark, cluttered home with a thousand dusty, old books in order to be a book nerd, do I?

So, before I carted them away to the nearest library repository for donation, I stacked them up and snapped a picture (see upper left), just to see how this stack actually stacked up to my personal identity. For such a random selection of books (some were old purchases, long forgotten; others were more recent, but also forgotten), I think they stacked up pretty well. Within that stack, I see a blend of the weird and the classic, sci-fi and fantasy, vintage and, well, less vintage, and an occasional pop of reference material. I’d say that about sums me up.

That made me wonder about other people’s book leftovers. I imagine many people have gone the way of digital reading, (although some of us may be less willing), and I bet we all have a few forgotten books lying around. I’m not talking about those treasured favorites you plan to keep for all eternity (mine are in my attic), but just those last random books that, out of neglect or forgetfulness, somehow survived your last literary cleanse and donation phase. What are those books? Would you say they describe you well? How do your stacks stack up?

TheCity&TheCity

Next Reads: Speaking of the burdensome, pre-digital days

Now that my summer is long gone and the new year has begun, my reading and writing progress has been slower. I have no review for this week because I just barely began The City & The City by China Mieville. I’m embarrassed to say that I have never before completed a Mieville book, but it’s not for a lack of wanting to. Years ago, back when I was still reading old-fashioned, analog (i.e. paper) books, I started Perdido Street Station. Unfortunately, a perfect storm of end-of-school year duties, and pre-vacation responsibilities erupted, and I never got past the first third of the book. I spent the entire summer on the beach in Europe, to which a Lovecraft anthology made the cut and Mieville went back to the library. (I had a luggage weight limit to deal with– yet another reason to go digital.) At the time, I hadn’t really connected with his characters, and I thought the short story style of H.P. Lovecraft would be more suitable for vacation reading. By the time I returned to the States, work had already started, and poor Perdido Street Station was long forgotten.

So, I thought I would make Perdido Street Station my next read for this blog, but then The City & The City caught my eye. It’s a murder mystery (another sci-fi mystery. I’m on a roll.) that takes place in two eastern European cities that are physically (and maybe psychically? I can’t tell yet) on top of one another.

Also, in an unusual, but not totally rare, circumstance, The City & The City tied for the Hugo with another novel, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, in 2010. I thought it would be fun to read both winners back-to-back. So, my reading list is set for the next few weeks.

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