Movers & Takers

Which books get to come to my new place?

Movers & Takers

I’ve written in the past about books I love and books in my personal library (which are often the same).

But I don’t think I’ve penned a column about tomes I can’t live without.

Now, because I’m moving, I must.

I HAD an extensive collection. But moving a long distance can be quite expensive. (My last move was basically across the street. I took everything but the kitchen sink.) One of the first things people (on the internet, of course) tell you is to ditch books, which weigh a lot and take up space in the moving van.

(An aside: I am a devoted digital self-publisher. I have more than 30 thrillers, mysteries, and anthologies on Amazon as e-books. But I am also a devoted reader of print books, and all of my novels have print versions on Amazon, and many are also available through Barnes & Noble.)

I’m no Nazi. I can’t just throw away books. Even those I haven’t read in 30 years and have dust jackets that are, well, dusty. It’s not that I haven’t given away books in the past. The local library was always glad to take some of them.

I said “was” because they stopped taking anyone’s books during covid. They wouldn’t even take books on viruses. But St. Matthew’s House (a local Goodwill-like charity) took a bunch and kindly directed me to a library in a nearby town that took the rest.

So, here are some of the books I’ve kept. They don’t include those that will go with me for sentimental reasons, such as a few that I or friends wrote, or those related to my craft or places I’ve lived. (I have the original, complete six-volume Staten Island and Its People, written by Leng and Davis in 1930!)

The list isn’t complete, and some books on my dwindling shelves may not make the final cut, but these will:

  • Heaven’s Prisoners by James Lee Burke. My favorite Dave Robicheaux thriller.
  • Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The most imaginative alien-invasion novel I’ve ever read.
  • A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean. Atmospheric and brilliant by a man who was first published at age 78!
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. Written in 1960, it’s never been topped.
  • Cosmos by Carl Sagan. From 1980. My mother gave it to me. Science has come a long way since, but Sagan foresaw a lot of things!
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Yes, I know, but my mother gave it to me when I was a sick child, and I’m a fan of the book and the movie. Smart people can see through the racism and condescension. It’s history, folks, and a great love story and feminist tract.
  • Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard. One of the funniest crime novels ever written.

Lawrence De Maria has just published his 27th novel, Absent Dead. He is seriously considering writing a horror story about moving.

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