Every once in a while, I go through my books, making room on the shelves for new books. I don’t like giving away/trading in old books, but one must be practical. I have no doubt that if I had kept all the books I’ve read over the years, I’d have thousands of them, but who has the room?
So I go through the books and decide if I ever want to read them again, or if I see my daughter one day reading them. For this reason, I keep all my classics, even if I never finished them. They are all “unread for now”, with the possible exception of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I got within 30 pages of the end and was unable to go on. I still couldn’t tell you what that book was about. I may well finish Moby Dick one day, and The Red Badge of Courage, and even The Last of the Mohicans, even if Mark Twain hated James Fenimore Cooper’s work.
The biggest criterion for deciding whether to keep a book or not is if I finished it, do I remember what it’s about? If the answer is no, it goes in the “go” pile.
Don’t think my “keep” pile is full of lofty pieces of literature. Among the books I’ve kept over the years is Anne McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer and Killashandra, the Dragonlance Chronicles (of which I have purchased multiple volumes) and other popular works.
Since I’ve started blogging about debuts, there have been a few sequels that I have highly anticipated. One was The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham, and which I reviewed in the fall of 2009. However, I’m having trouble getting through Canticle by Ken Scholes, even though when it arrived in the mail, I shouted “Yay!” and displayed an unseemly amount of glee. I can’t say what’s wrong with it, it’s just not grabbing me like the first one did, (although I’m still dying to find out what that thing is on the moon).
I also haven’t read The Desert Spear by Peter Brett even though I really enjoyed The Warded Man. Part of the reason is frugality; the publisher sent me The Warded Man, but not The Desert Spear. I don’t like asking for review copies unless I’m planning to do an advance review, and I let the release date slip by me for this one. Which means I’ll probably read it when it comes out in paperback.
I”m really looking forward to The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I’m glad he took his time producing the second book because I know the first book, The Name of the Wind, was the work of years. It’s coming out next March.
But what really surprises me is when I enjoy a first book but turn out to me “meh” on the second book. I’d hate to single any particular book out, but I’m sure you know what I mean. I’m certainly thinking of one book in particular. Sometimes when they end on a cliffhanger, the tension evaporates in the intervening time between the ending of the one book and the beginning of the other. I do better when the author gives me a Satisfying Reading Experience with the first book, because I know I won’t feel cheated by a cliffhanger on the second book.
Do you keep every book you ever enjoyed? Does your library have thousands of books? What are some of your favorites?