Sunday, July 7, 2013

Adjusting the Shelves

So, the past few days I've been moving a lot of book around. The Tolkiens (by and about) are up here in my office, of course, but there's now a backlog of recent books about THE HOBBIT that I need to find places for on my shelves. And there are some Tolkien-related books that reside downstairs in the box room (quizbooks, parodies, and other peripheral material of the sort), along with non-Inklings books by Carpenter and a few by Pearce, works by minor Inklings (e.g. Coghill and Cecil), and associated figures (e.g., the Unwins).

The problem is that the Lewis books are divided between a bookcase in the dining room (by, some about) and those same shelves in the box room (more about), since the top shelf of that bookcase is devoted to Barfield, leaving no room for all the Lewises (by and about) to be shelved together. The Ch. Wms books were similarly divided, and most of Warnie was in the box room as well.  I tried moving the Barfield to my grandfather's old walnut bookcase (also in the dining room), thus dispossessing all the VIIs and currently-checked-out library books. That fixed the Lewis problem, but not v. satisfactorily.

That's when Janice stepped in, seeing the books stacked here and there, and suggested converting one of the two large bookcases up in her office to OB, CSL, et al. So yesterday all the books on those shelves came off (religion, biography, archeology and paleontology, native american (Mayan, Caddo, et al), antarctic disasters, conspiracies and crank theories, et al.), resulting in a sea of books all around the room (soon to be taken off to new homes in the dining room and box room, minus a few culls). And today the new residents moved in. Top shelf is now Barfield. Second and third shelves are CSL (by) followed by CSL (about). Fourth and final shelf is Wms and Warnie.

One result of this sort-out is the discovery of some duplicates and the decision that a few books can be gotten rid of for one reason for another. Accordingly, the following books all up for grabs to good homes:

1. PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS by CSL, ed. Patricia S. Klein. I've had this book for eight years, having picked it up on an impulse. Since I haven't read it in all that time, I'm not likely to anytime in the foreseeable future either. Esp. given that I prefer reading Lewis's books the way he wrote them than a selection of excerpts, as here.

2. C. S. LEWIS: THE AUTHENTIC VOICE by Wm Griffin. I had to order this one to track down a quote in my "Missing Women" piece. Turns out it's just a re-issue of his CSL: A DRAMATIC LIFE under a different title. Since the latter is readily available, shd I decide I want to read it, this one can go.

3. C. S. LEWIS AND NARNIA FOR DUMMIES by Richard Wagner. This one must have seemed a good idea at the time. I not only bought it but read it and marked it up. The best parts are probably the cartoons by Tennant, who clearly knows nothing about CSL, making for an amusing disjunction.

4. A POCKET COMPANION TO NARNIA by Paul F. Ford. This looks like a wonderful little book for anyone doing work on Narnia;  a sort of CSL edition of Rbt Foster's ever-useful GUIDE TO MIDDLE-EARTH. Since I've never made any use of it in the eight years I've had it, and hope never to have to work on Narnia, this really shd go to someone who'll make better use of it.

5. A SEVERE MERCY by Sheldon Vanauken. I don't know why I have two copies of a book I've never taken the time to actually read, but one of them can surely go

6. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS by C. S. Lewis. The first Lewis book I ever read, and still one of my favorites. However, we can probably get by if we trim our three copies down to just two (preliminary to deciding which of those two ultimately stays and which goes).

7. A PREFACE TO PARADISE LOST by C. S. L. Again, this is a duplicate: I'm keeping the hardcover and letting the (trade) paperback go.

There would have been an eighth book, Taum Santoski's copy of THE C. S. LEWIS HOAX by Kathryn Lindskoog, but glancing through it I found that I'd forgotten Taum had annotated it in some places, so I'll be hanging on to this one for a while.

One thing such a sort-out does is highlight a few things that I really shd get to fill some gaps: Lewis's book on Spenser, more of his literary essays (alas that REHABILITATIONS and the ESSAY COLLECTION are alike outside my budget), his first book SPIRITS IN BONDAGE (probably in one of the print-on-demand reprints, now that I know they exist), the volume of Joy Gresham letters, and (when opportunity offers) the recent Boenig book on CSL AND THE MIDDLE AGES. Similarly, I have all but two of Warnie's books, and really shd get the ones I'm missing, having enjoyed those I read of his quite a lot.

And now, back to more sorting and re-arranging; first of the displaced books, and then of the Tolkien shelves.

--John R.
current reading: THE FALL OF ARTHUR, Walter Raleigh on Blake.
current audiobook: McGrath's biography of CSL

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