Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Books: What to Get Rid of, What to Keep

A scrappy New Yorker, (Abigail A. Frankfurt) decides to take an apartment in the Midwest for $450. because she can't afford living in the City anymore. She takes care of all her belongings, I mean she gets rid of most of her belongings: kitchen utensils (easy), her cat (decides not to), clothing (she calls friends). (New York Times, Feb. 25, 2007)

BUT the BOOKS, she's got too many, she has to travel light (the apartment is not that big).

What goes (she gives them away): Graham Greene, Sedaris, Don DeLillo, the collected works of Poe, Aldous Huxley, Studs Terkel, “A Million Little ...,” all the books on how to be an angry left-wing feminist, anything by the Beats, everything by Tolstoy except “Anna Karenina,” out with Atwood and Capote, Hubert Selby Jr., Mailer and a bunch of other stuff.

WHAT I keep: Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” (given to me in seventh grade; I will never give it away); “Swann’s Way” (always almost finished, heavily underlined; I’ll get through it); Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” (my Mom gave it to me when I turned 11); Robert Coover’s “Briar Rose” (when I finished it, I wanted to marry him); Donald Barthelme’s “60 Stories” (if I am on a date with someone and he says he does not like Barthelme, I walk out).

While I tell you the rest of the article is a must read, here's Ms. Frankfurt's conclusion...

When you are a native New Yorker, you bring the city with you wherever you go; like the books I lug around, the pages are part of my skin. New York is my nationality. Like a great line, written by an enduring author, it simply sinks in.

So my question is now what are the books you would keep and which ones would you get rid of?

theteach :)

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