Pruning the books

Post 38/2021 Friday 17 September . . . Boxes and boxes of books sit in our garage. They’re the remainder of our library already halved over the last dozen years. Our home is plenty roomy, has books on the shelves, but another shelf is not in the offing. I decided this week (Marty having decided long ago) to radically prune the lot.

The deed is yet to be done, though I find the decision most liberating, for us, and for the books that have languished in boxes for almost three years. We’ll donate many to Fables Books in downtown Goshen. Friends may want a few. We’ll keep some.

Peel, peel, chop, chop, slice, slice, season, season, taste, taste, serve, serve, yum, yum–just as in cooking, so in planning our new menu of books, we’ll look for the ripest, juiciest, varied, entertaining, informative, inspiring, dearest of the lot. May this leaner mix of reading fulfill our interests and appetites, all in the knowledge that others may find a treasure or two, too. LONG LIVE THE BOOK! (And Fables and the public library).

Season of change, around Greencroft

Around South Bend at midweek


We came past these parked crop duster planes on our way home from South Bend. Below: Bean harvest in progress.

Songs of the soul, centuries on

How I’d love to hear The Pilgrims’ Chorus and walk St Michael’s Way from Lelant on the Atlantic to St Michael’s Mount on the English Channel. We’ve walked that Pilgrims’ Path more than a dozen times. Hope to walk it again next winter 2022. Home from home. “My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great, and my spirit sings of the wonderous things that you bring to the ones who wait. . . .” Based on Luke 1:46-55; Rory Cooney (USA), 1990. Music: Irish traditional.

Lunch early in the week

I’m halfway through the novel, The Children’s Train, by Viola Ardone, translated from the Italian by Clarissa Botsford, (Thorndike Press, Gale, 2021), set in 1946 and 1994. The scarcity of food, clothing and optimism in southern Italy is shown through the eyes of a seven-year-old boy. .

From the back cover: “Though Mussolini and the fascists have been defeated, the war has devastated Italy, especially the south. Seven-year-old Amerigo lives with his mother Antonietta in Naples, surviving on odd jobs and his wits. But one day, Amerigo learns that a train will take him away from the rubble-strewn streets of the city to spend the winter with a family in the north, where he will be safe and have warm clothes and food to eat. Amerigo’s journey is a story of memory, indelible bonds, and self-exploration, and an examination of what family can truly mean.”

It took me a good while to get into the book, but now it has come alive. Savory, not sweet.

Happy reading.


6 thoughts on “Pruning the books

  1. Sorting out the past: what needs to be kept and what needs to go? Good luck with all the gleaning of the books!


    May the God of Wonder be with you, delighting you with the beauty of sunrise and the majesty of sunset, with the song of the bird and the fragrance of the flower. —Maxine Shonk, OP



  2. What would the world be without books? The best part before anticipating the contents is smelling the book, then looking at the copyright, reading about the author, then curling up and being transported somewhere else with new friends or those to be wary of. So many places to go and visit. Happy reading indeed.


  3. I wish you well as you sort, remember, and trim your library! It’s painful to give up the books that have become friends as well as the ones still to be read — but it sounds like you’re seriously committed to downsizing. I like your stance of thinking of the joy someone else may receive from owning the book — may it be so!


    1. So it is we sometimes have to say goodbye to books that have become friends. There is a time for everything, right? Also a time to expand the friendship circle (err, space on the self).


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