Upstairs in my house, 2 levels up from where I am typing these words, is a room containing most of my book collection. I am not sure if "collection" is the right word. "Assemblage" might be a better one. "Unholy friggin' mess" would be even better. I have books on nearly every topic in polite conversation, and more than a few on legal topics I'd rather not list here. All they have in common is that I bought them, or they were given to me, sometime over the last 30 years or so. Either I thought they would be interesting to read, or someone thought I might like to read them, and they ended up in that room after I bought this house in 2000.
I still buy books, but at a rate that is much more sensible than it used to be. I hardly ever buy new hardcovers any more, but still buy some new paperbacks, but mostly it's used paperbacks from the bookstore down the street from the office building I work in.
Arranging these books/pamphlets/magazines/comics into any kind of coherent, searchable order has eluded me. The effort would be so immense, for such a small reward, that I have not expended the energy to do so.
Truth to tell, I have so many books that I have never read, and never will read, that I'd be better off selling them for a few bucks. The only problem with that is that most used bookstores are not interested in books that are more than, say, 10 years old; and many of my books are older than that.
Here's some heresy: In order to get rid of the vast majority of the books in my house, the ones that aren't worth anything, that nobody wants (but which may still be perfectly acceptable time fillers to read), I could give them to my father, who would burn them in his wood furnace for kindling. It would at least clear up much of the clutter in that part of the house. Book philes may hate me for stating this, but them's the breaks.
(Don't tell me to donate them to a library or an old folk's home. They are strict about what they will accept.)
But that is not what I want to write about on this Saturday evening.
I am reminded of a couple of books upstairs in that room this evening called "It Was a Dark And Stormy Night", and "Son of It Was a Dark And Stormy Night". They list the winners(?) of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest where contestants write the opening sentence to a pretend novel. The more turgid, purple, nonsensical the prose, the better.
Some of these entries are hysterical, if they hit you in the right frame of mind. Maybe I will not have my father burn these books. Maybe I will hold on to them for a bit yet.
I found this website that provides some of the contest entries from over the past 25 years. I thought you might like to check it out.
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