Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Whither the Bee?

I finished a book last night!  And the crowd goes crazy!

This is not news, but you should see my reading pile.  My backlog has grown to a height that would cause my mountain-climbing sister to pause before considering a summit attempt.  Parental pass-alongs, estate sales, library sales, and Goodwill stores are all my undoing, as is that evil American Council of the Blind thrift store in West Allis.  Boswell Book Company on N. Downer Street suckers me in with author talks by the likes of Craig Thompson and John Scalzi; I may sneak out without a $24.95 autographed hardcover in hand, but the pesky bargain shelf ambushes me on the way to the door.  Curiosity killed the cat, but it's burying me alive.

You'd think, then, that when I finish an amiable read like Samantha Bee's I Know I Am, But What Are You, I would instantly fling it back through the portal into the ocean of resale print whence it came, the better to make room for its successors.  However, I'm a cheapskate.  If I've spent 50 or 89 cents on a volume of inspirationally snarky personal essays for which, in an earlier, pre-abundance era, I might have shelled out $2.98 plus $3.49 shipping from the Edward R. Hamilton catalog, it feels like I've turned a profit.

What to do, then, with this exemplar of the epistolary, this Woodstock of wit?  I resell some medium-priced books on Amazon.com, but few popular titles sell for more than a literal penny.  Giving the book to my sister-in-law, who earlier had giggle-snorted her way through David Sedaris despite her Christian upbringing, would be an option; but with Ms. Bee's chapter on rude characters who expose themselves to the author on a recurring basis as if she were a perv magnet, this seems unwise.  That's before we even get to her confession of releasing a psychopathic, rapist guinea pig into her basement with the cats.

I decided at last to stage a ninja attack under cover of darkness and donate the book to one of the Little Free Libraries that have sprouted in our city, and many others, in recent months.  As my Beloved Spousal Unit has described in her blog, Dante's Wardrobe, the Little Free Library movement is a casually organized community resource provided by private citizens for the benefit of their neighbors and neighborhood.  It's a friendly sharing of books over the back fence, only the back fence is now on a prominent street corner.  The collection is a bit spotty, but you've got to love the due date.  It is possible, Dear Reader, that one or two items from our local giveaway spots may have found their way back into our home, adding to my personal Magic Mountain.  Oh, what foul cruelty Fortuna has spun to me today!

Samantha Bee, her guinea pig, and her murderous cats are now lurking inside the box at N. 52nd and W. Vine, waiting to pounce on a curious, bypassing pedestrian.  Neighbors, be forewarned!


  1. I have a similar problem - too many books, too little time. I use the library a lot, but other books leap into my arms from friends. How can I say no?

    My current plan is to read books in my collection, and if I think I probably won't read it again, off to the library it goes for a new life in their resale shop. My progress is slow..

  2. Judy - I can definitely relate! My new plan is to read short, easy, and/or half-finished books first.

    Previously blogged about my eerily similar library habits in a June 2011 post entitled "Neverread". Click on the Neil Gaiman hyperlink in the labels list. Cheers!



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