Thursday, October 16, 2008

BTT: Sitting on the Shelf

btt button

Okay–here was an interesting article by Christopher Schoppa in the Washington Post.

Avid readers know all too well how easy it is to acquire books — it’s the letting go that’s the difficult part. … During the past 20 years, in which books have played a significant role in both my personal and professional lives, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them (and some might say several others’ shares) in my library. Many were read and saved for posterity, others eventually, but still reluctantly, sent back out into the world.

But there is also a category of titles that I’ve clung to for years, as they survived numerous purges, frequent library donations and countless changes of residence. I’ve yet to read them, but am absolutely certain I will. And should. When, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.

So, the question is his: “What tomes are waiting patiently on your shelves?

Without another book entering my house, I'm sure I've got enough material to read for at least several years. (Some might argue a bit longer than that.) Will that keep me from opening up my door and heart to new books? No. Of course not. A week where I don't seek out new books? Not likely to happen any time soon. But this is an interesting question.

These really fall into two categories for me...classics...and Christian Non-Fiction.

There are classics that have been on my shelves for years. War and Peace. (The print's too tiny.) Don Quixote (The print's too tiny.) Vanity Fair (Never have enough time.) etc. Some of these books are longish, others are much shorter. I've still got a handful of Zora Neale Hurston titles that I haven't gotten too yet. I *love* her work. So I'm not sure why they haven't been picked up and finished. But some day.

But classics make up only a tiny fraction of what I've got around the house on my shelves. The biggest category by far is the Christian Nonfiction section. I've got shelves and shelves and shelves and stacks and stacks and stacks of these books that I need to get to. These highlight my inability to say no. When I see a book on the clearance or bargain shelf--particularly if we're talking cheap--it's hard for me to walk away. Not that I'm completely lacking in discernment. It's got to be by someone I have a) heard of or b) blurbed by someone I've heard of or c) published by a publisher I trust. There are plenty of "Christian" writers I wouldn't bring into my house. Many of these books are by authors/preachers that I just love--John MacArthur, John Piper, J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, Michael Horton, etc. Others are much older--Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield, A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, etc. The list goes on and on and on.

Most of these books are theology. We're not talking fluffy and useless. And I do *want* to get to them. But it's just exhausting in a way.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


SmilingSally said...

Ah, Becky, we have something in common. I shop for sale tables at Christian bookstores too, but I select fiction and have a drawer full of it.

I'm giving away books. Come see. Happy BTT!

Susan said...

I'm with you on the classics and the Christian non-fiction. I have more devotionals than I will ever need! I think I might need to share those at some point!

Anonymous said...

You said: "So I'm not sure why they haven't been picked up and finished."

I know why, because they aren't going anywhere. If you took them out of the library on loan you'd finish them fast because they would be due back. However books on your shelves aren't going anywhere so there is no rush. It's my problem too.