To shelve, or not to shelve, that is the question

September 26, 2015

by Lou Borgenicht

Rearranging or giving away books is an emotional experience. In the interest of simplifying my life I decided it was time to peruse my personal library with the objective of thinning things out. My books had spilled out of the shelves onto the floor.

Over the past year I had prided myself on limiting the accretion of my wardrobe by giving away any item I bought: if I purchased a shirt an old one would have to go. I also got rid of pants that did not fit anymore, having given up the fantasy that they could be suitably altered to fit my changing body. But as a friend pointed out, merely replacing items in a wardrobe does nothing to decrease one’s vestments.

Books, however, are a different matter. One of the motivations for dealing with one’s personal library is feng shui, the popular Japanese approach to simplifying life. In her book The Life Changing Habit of imgresTidying Up, Marie Kondo devotes only three pages (93-95) to clearing her bookshelves.

Be that as it may, a recent survey of my office shelves  was a bit tortured. There were books I no longer desired: either because I had read them and knew I would never want to read them again or because there were books I knew I would never read.

More problematic were those I hoped to read someday. These were fraught with guilt: I had bought them years ago but had not gotten around to reading them. I could not part with them lest I feel foolish feeling that I had given into a literary whim in the past and not had the wherewithal to read them.

More facile was the decision about which there was no doubt: I had to keep them because they were one-flew-over-cuckoos-nest-ken-kesey-paperback-cover-artsome of my favorites (One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sophie’s Choice, Hiroshima, A Sacred Trust, Catcher in the Rye, Executioner’s Song, any Billy Collins poetry). Over the years I had bought new editions of these volumes just so I had virginal copies on my shelves. They’ve remained staples in my library.

There were those I wanted to get rid of but could not because they had authorial inscriptions, some of them even from friends. I considered tearing out the inscription page and passing them on but something made me stop. Thus books by Sy Hersh (a cousin by marriage) remain in the recesses of an inaccessible shelf.

Untouchable is my collection of books on the nuclear arms race gathered in the 80’s when I was active in the physicians’ antinuclear movement. They are willed to a nuclear library at the University Utah upon my death.

There are probably more books I can dispose of but I consider it an ongoing process to be resumed when the spirit strikes me. Meanwhile I continue reading assiduously and confronting the dilemma of what to do with the book when I have finished it.

Young Adult Recommends: Deliverance

May 18, 2015
by C. J. Redwine
19099494With Rachel captured and Logan imprisoned, little hope is left for the Baalboden survivors. The two still must complete the seemingly impossible task of destroying both the Commander and the technology controlling the Cursed One but they have already survived many attempts on their lives, and are stronger than their enemies know. It will take courage, strength, and cunning to save each other, but the cost for victory will be steep. The rising action leads to an intense climax and a powerful conclusion to the Defiance trilogy.
by Julia
Balzer + Bray, 2014

Young Adult Recommends: Exquisite Captive

May 12, 2015
Exquisite Captive
by Heather Demetrios
18106985Nalia is the last of an ancient jinni bloodline, but now she is a slave on the dark caravan and forced to obey her cruel human master, Malek. Her only hope is Raif, her sworn enemy, and he imposes an impossible price for freedom. But Nalia needs her jinni bottle for the unbinding spell to work. And it is the bottle Malek wears around his neck. Exquisite Captive begins the Dark Caravan Cycle, a captivating story of magical jinn, three wishes, and the price of freedom.
by Julia
Balzer + Bray, 2014

Young Adult Recommends: Chasing Power

May 5, 2015

Chasing Power
by Sarah Beth Durst

13518255With the help of her telekinetic powers, Kayla is a master thief. She is careful not to let anyone learn of her power, so she never expects to be blackmailed by a boy she’s never met. Daniel may have the ability to teleport, but he needs Kayla to help him find his kidnapped mother. To save her, they must find three stones of power that could potentially change the world. Chasing Power is an intricate story filled with Mayan legends, voodoo charms, and mind powers not to mention unexpected plot twists, deadly secrets, and shocking betrayals that will have readers yearning for more.

by Julia

Bloomsbury, 2014

Young Adult Reads: Winterspell

March 7, 2015

by Claire Legrand

9781442465985Clara Stole has much to fear. Her father has been taken by strange and deadly creatures to Cane, a war-torn land of snow, faeries, and magic. To find him, Clara must rely of the cursed prince Nicholas, if she can trust him. But before she can save her father, Clara may have to save Cane first. In this dark, Nutcracker-inspired fairy tale, Clara’s journey is a harrowing one, filled with danger and sorrow and love, one that readers won’t forget.

by Julia

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014

It’s About the Tone of the Tome

March 7, 2015

by Lou Borgenicht

There is a unique pleasure in finishing one book and immediately choosing the next one you are going to read. That is why it is crucial to have a a stack of unread books on your shelf, books you have purchased over the past year at the King’s English. Part of the joy of finishing a book is the expectation of reading the next.

There is also the subrosa issue of the pressure to read a book that your friends, relatives or favorite bookseller (Jan in my case) have suggested that you like. A few years ago about ten people suggested I read a popular novel. (For the sake of the author and my credibility I will not mention the title). I bought it and tried to get into it several times without success.

When a friend asked me,”What do think about the fact all those people suggest you read a book which you cannot?”

I replied, with unconscious hubris, “It makes me wonder what is wrong with them.”

Since then I take anyone’s literary advice with extreme caution.

9780345543851So this month I was reading a book that “everyone loved.” A chapter or two a night without engagement. Half way through I put it down and grabbed Tess Gerritsen’s latest mystery. An internal medicine physician for about ten years she gave up medicine to write. She was also a friend of one of my medical school friends: MIchael  Palmer who wrote medical thrillers and who died unexpectedly a year ago.Tess had just been in town; unfortunately I was unable to hear her reading.

Her latest, “Die Again”, was captivating and I could not wait to read it for a few moments each night before bed. FInally I finished it yesterday afternoon, reading it consistenty for a couple of hours. I wanted to finish it before my vacation.

The next morning I awoke with both a sense of accomplishment and great expectation.
What book would I take on my vacation?

9780767913737I perused my book shelf. A paperback definitely. There sitting on top of the pile of unread books was, “River of Doubt”.

I read the first few pages and was hooked. I am looking forward to my ten day vacation in Maui. There is something comforting about reading about Teddy Roosevelt’s travails in the moist torpor of Hawaii.

Hidden moral: There is no accounting for taste. Especially with books..

Young Adult Recommends: Dissonance

March 6, 2015

by Erica O’Rourke


Whenever a choice is made, a new Echo universe is created. Delancey has the ability to Walk between these realities, but problems soon arise when she begins sneaking out to see an Echo of her crush. Del’s forbidden relationship leads her to a secret anomaly that could destroy the entire mulitverse. Dissonance is completely unique, with well thought-out concepts of how important every choice a person makes really is.


Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, published July, 2014