Yesterday, as I was compiling my long list into 8 shorter lists, I realized something-- there's really only a handful of books that I want back badly enough that I would be willing to buy them again. This is a good thing. If I were to buy the entire list back, the sum total of the retail value would probably be the equivalent to a semester of schooling at a public university. Or a lengthy vacation trip to Iran (a place I really want to travel to because of reading some of the books on The List).
I also aware that I am going to have to let go of the idea of getting any of these books back. Many of these books have been out of my possession for years. And, if I recall some of the borrowers correctly, I've scattered books across several time zones and potentially across several continents.
I set about dividing the list into sets by considering what shelves I would keep them on. I have 3 bookcases, and they are designated as follows:
- Fiction: Read and Partially Read
- Theatre: The Only One that is Alphabetized
- Miscellaneous: Reference, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Short Stories, Unread Fiction
Non-Fiction: Books that Require a Colon in the Title
Full disclosure: I typically don't read non-fiction for kicks. Most of the non-fiction I read is limited to the work I have done as a dramaturg. This means I will go through stints in which I attempt to read all I can on subjects like Leningrad, 1942. This sort of subject-oriented binging requires a bit of detox, and I steer clear of all things factual.
As I was putting this list together, I noted the heavy reliance on the Title:Subtitle format. I also noticed that there was a really transparent theme in the titles. The titles suggest that these books are dangerous and sexy. This is all marketing. At least one of the "dangerous" books is quite dull.
Of the seven books on this listette, I am hankering for just two of these titles to be returned. One, Musicophilia, because it was borrowed before I had a chance to read it. The other was a gift. I bet you can guess which one.
The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World by David Abram
Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier
Dangerous Tastes: The Story of Spices by Andrew Dalby
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt
Musicophilia: Tales of Music & the Brain by Oliver Sachs
Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies & Jays by Candace Savage
Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife