A Post About Books, Sort Of
I am completely charmed by Uncovered Classics, a project by writer and designer Amy Collier to celebrate 20th century novels by women. (The project was created in response to Modern Library’s dude heavy list on the same topic.) Uncovered Classics both revisits and rediscovers old titles as kind of an ongoing book club, and Collier is recruiting different artists to design new covers, because let’s be real, that’s the best way to judge a book.
I am a sucker for books as tactile objects. I am actually trying to be less precious about them! I own, ahem, a metric fuckton of books, and I’ve gotten a lot of them for free. I have spent years working as a bookseller, publishing house intern, literary critic, columnist, etc, that at any given time I have enough galleys to build a sizeable fort. I also spend most of my disposable income on books (second only to roti), constantly buying new ones just because I like the way they look at my shelf. Last year I discovered I own three different editions of Wuthering Heights. I do not need three different editions of Wuthering Heights!
I never minded having so many books until recently I realized I was going to have to move. I currently sublet an attic in a house downtown. My landlord (let’s call him Stan) lives on the main floor and he is a…character. He likes to ingest substances of illicit varieties, and then stay up till the wee hours of the morn yelling expletives and smashing shit. I mean, totally his business, except he is loud, and I normally like not be woken up at three in the morning. So, I found a new place to live come May, and have been working on downsizing my stuff.
I don’t know what to do with my books, because I don’t drive and can’t carry them all to Goodwill, and I offered them to friends but I could not get rid of them fast enough. I have been leaving them on the curb in front of my house, free for the taking. I usually put a new box out every week, and they normally disappear within a few hours. I couldn’t figure out who was taking them all so quickly. My tastes are *Christian Grey voice* particular — I write about kid’s lit, which means I own a lot of storybooks and young adult novels, and I spend a lot of my free time reading like, explicit experimental novels by Semiotexte that have 6429 different euphemisms for the word “intercourse” and like, who else on my street sees a picture book about a talking potato (official review tk) and Travis Jeppesen’s The Suiciders and says, “Ah yes, exactly what I was looking for”?
Last night, my roommate comes in my room, and asks if the internet is down for me as well. Usually when that happens, we go knock on Stan’s door, and he resets the modem, which is kept in a small mysterious room off the main hall of the house. Stan isn’t home, my roommate tells me, but he said he keeps the door unlocked and we can go in and reset the modem ourselves. She doesn’t want to go in the room alone, duh, because Stan is shady as hell, and there are almost definitely dead bodies in that room, and it is late at night and there is a thunderstorm (metaphorically speaking), and she asks if I will please go with her to the Mysterious Room of Mystery.
We go in the hall downstairs and knock on the door in case there are any serial killers hanging out there (because it is only polite to give them a heads up) and then we open the door and it is pitch black in there, and my roommate feels around the wall to find the light switch, and the lights go on, and…
The room is filled with bookshelves, and the bookshelves are filled with books. Specifically, my books. All the books I have been getting rid of this last month. There are advance reader copies of YA books about misfit teen girls and feminist plays leftover from an old university course and everything else, right there, right in my landlord’s secret room. We reset the modem and go back upstairs so my roommate can resume watching Louie.
Anyway, as I get rid of most of my books, I plan on living vicariously through the beautiful covers on Collier’s website. What book are you reading right now? Is it good? Do you like it? Should I read it too?