The good news is that the walnut bookshelves I built and installed in our library are fully intact, notwithstanding the best efforts of the siding crew working on our house to dislodge them with incessant hammering from outside.  The bad news is that the very top shelf disgorged a veritable avalanche of paperbacks on the library table and floor below.

But maybe the avalanche wasn’t so bad after all.  What a great way to review your collection for books worthy of a second or third read!  If you’re  like me, there is no organization to your collection of books, other than perhaps some sizing for aesthetic appeal (big hardbacks together, same size paperbacks together, etc.)  My small paperbacks were on the top shelf for this reason, as well as because they were just less work to heft all the way up there.

So here, based on gravity alone (shown in order of bounce distance from the foot of the bookshelf), are my winter reading recommendations:

The Sherlock Holmes Mysteries.  This is a collection of 22 of Doyle’s stories.  I must have four different collections or anthologies with the same stuff in it.  Wonderful reads!

The Killer Angels.  Michael Shaara’s classic historical novel on Gettysburg.  Ted Turner’s movie was based on this book.  If you have visited Little Round Top to see where Chamberlain stood, thank Shaara.  This book is why I am a ‘scared of writing a historical novel.  It is really good.

Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield.  Another historical novel, this one about the Spartan defense of Thermopylae.  Fast-paced page turner.

David Copperfield.  I read this book first as a teen.  Many words and contextual humor were over my head.  But I loved it.  The gorgeous language, the rhythm of the prose – I’ll stop there – I don’t feel qualified even to describe Dickens.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.  Great novel, can’t wait to read it again.  Anyone see the most recent movie?

Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding.  Comedy about eighteenth-century (English) country manners.  I read this as an assigned reading in a world lit class in college, therefore I data dumped right after (or maybe before) exams.  I’m sure it was great! Perhaps I’ll give it another, more voluntary, look.

Ditto from above for Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera and James Thurber’s Fables for Our Time.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Back.  I remember being charmed by this book as a teen.  This is remarkable given that I grew up around seagulls!  If pigeons are flying rats, seagulls are the oceangoing variety.

The Galatic Club by Ronald Bracewell.  This was a text I do remember!  I took astronomy in college, thinking it would be an easy science credit.  Wrongo!  This class was an elective after I took the 100 level course, and it explored, scientifically, the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe.  This book details that deductive logic trail.  Fascinating, just trying to comprehend the true enormity of the universe.

1984 by George Orwell.  Creepy when it was written, but give it a go now! Scary…

So there is my first “bounce” list! Walk by your bookcase and swat some books off the shelves and let’s hear about them!

Hope you enjoyed the guest blog with Jason Blair last week.  For those of you who have not read my novel “On the Death Beat,” Jason is the main character.  He sends his regards, and he is reviewing the literally ones of entries he received looking for the MOST interesting person to write a life story for.

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