“By far the hardest…

"By far the hardest task came toward the end of the week, when we sorted through our duplicates and decided whose to keep. I realized that we had both been hoarding redundant copies of our favorite books 'just in case' we ever split up. If George got rid of his bea-up copy of To the Lighthouse and I said goodbye to my genital-pink paperback of Couples, read so often in my late teens (when Updike's explorations of the complexities of marriage seemed unimaginably exotic) that it had sundered into a triptych held together with a rubber band -- well, then we would clearly have to stick together for good. Our bridges would be burned."

-- Anne Fadiman, "Marrying Libraries", Ex Libris

So, I didn't edit today. Instead, we merged our libraries. (When I saw we, I mean that Kevin's main contribution was adding little comments like, "Doesn't James come before Joyce?" Yes, dear. It's tiring, moving hundreds of books. One makes occasional alphabetizing mistakes.) As it turned out, we didn't have many duplicates. They were:

  • The Matisse Stories, Byatt
  • The Awakening, Chopin
  • The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner
  • The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway
  • The Metamorphosis, Kafka
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chroncle, Murakami
  • The Annotated Lolita, Nabokov
  • Anil's Ghost, Ondaatje
  • The Silmarillion, Tolkien
Make of that list what you will. What I got out of it was the conclusion that many great books start with the word "the." We did keep a few duplicates -- generally where I liked my Norton critical edition with the interesting essays and he liked his pretty hardcover edition designed to snag the dilettante. :-)

If you're coming to brunch tomorrow, feel free to snag any of these books you like. They'll be in a stack, along with a few more give-aways (we merged videos last week) on the telephone table.

Eep. I feel both mildly reassured and severely discombobulated. I imagine the latter will pass.

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