Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Books to Keep

books closed selective focus photo

Due to pressure from a family member who shall not be named, I have been reducing the size of my home library which, I will concede, extends to several rooms and completely consumes one room, although it is possible to snake yourself through that room provided you don't disturb any of the book stacks on the floor. [What's a floor without books?]

Many of the books are reference volumes for projects. Other are ones I am planning to read. The bulk of the collection, however, consists of books that I've read but do not want to relinquish. For example, I do not believe that any civilized house should be without A Tale of Two Cities.

Sentiment, however, does not dictate all of the read-but-kept volumes. Some will be re-read and, in several cases, have already been re-read but will be re-read again and again. That group includes:

  • Lonesome Dove by McMurtry
  • The Aubrey-Maturin series by O'Brian
  • The Balkan Trilogy/The Levant Trilogy by Manning
  • Life with a Star by Weil
  • Heart of Darkness by Conrad
  • Bleak House by Dickens
  • The Warden by Trollope
  • The Wonderful Country by Lea
  • Wolf Hall by Mantel
  • Animal Farm by Orwell
  • War and Peace by Tolstoy
  • Lincoln by Vidal
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Marquez
  • I, Claudius by Graves
  • The Last Hurrah by O'Connor
There are many more but you get the picture. The screening process is necessary but each book has the right of several appeals where I am the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and the judge. There is no jury.

[Photo by Kiwihug at Unsplash]


Steve Layman said...

Not familiar with Manning's Trilogies. Can you provide a two sentence rationale for them to compete for space in another already overcrowded book environment? S

Michael Wade said...


After reading the trilogies Clive James called Olivia Manning a magisterial writer and Christopher Hitchens described them as the best books to come out of World War II.

I would grade them A+++.

They are extraordinary.

Start with The Balkan Trilogy. You won't regret it.