Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Mixed Bag of Books

In the never-ending battle to de-clutter and de-accession, I found myself pulling books from our living room shelves in order to make room for some big coffee table books that are no longer safe on the coffee table when Josie is rambling about.

And though most are elderly and crumbling paperbacks that even the library book sale probably doesn't want, I have trouble just throwing them out. So I've set myself the task of reading them first. Or reading the first chapter, at least. If I really am bored, I won't continue.

The Sea Wolf  and Captains Courageous are books I taught to First or Second Form classes (7th or 8th grade) when I taught at Berkeley Prep about fifty years ago. Death in Venice, Barabbas, and The Rise of Silas Lapham are from my undergraduate studies -- even longer ago. As I recall, I liked the first two and disliked Silas. But maybe my tastes have changed. 

I think the other books came from John's father and I've never read them, except for The Constant Nymph of which I have a hazy (and positive) memory.

When I picked up Christ Stopped at Eboli , I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't, as I'd always supposed from the title, a soppy book about a miraculous visit. Instead, it's the story of a man's year as a political prisoner in a remote town in southern Italy. The title's meaning is that Christ never got to Eboli "which means, in effect, that they (the people of Eboli) have been bypassed by Christianity, by morality, by history itself." 

As they say, you can't judge a book by its cover.


Stella Jones said...

Yes, I agree it is hard to get rid of books that you have owned for years. They all bring back memories. However, think of all the space on your shelves, once you have had a good clear out! I should give myself the same advice!!!!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Oh, gosh, I remember reading (and liking very much) The Constant Nymph when I was about fourteen. It was one of my mother's favorite stories. The memory is hazy for me, too. I think it involved a theatrical family (which is probably why my mother liked it.

Thérèse said...

You make me want to reread Christ Stopped at Eboli, I remember only the way I liked this book so much, Carlo Levi's own life in south Italy at the time of fascism.