Strangled Charity

I have a decidedly dumb dilemma. Books. Too many of them. Well, more accurately I have too many uncorrected proofs. Nearly 70 different titles. In the beginning…we’re talking 2006..I was asked to join LibraryThing’s Early Review program. Here’s how it works: ever month LT posts a list of new books to be published and you request one to be reviewed before publication. I have been honored to “win” nearly 70 early publications and I have reviewed them all. Well, let me clarify. I have faithfully reviewed every title I have received. I’m still waiting for two…

In the beginning it was a pride thing. I was so thrilled to be asked to join this program that I saved every single book I was asked to review. I wanted to keep an entire collection of “librarythings” to mark the accomplishment. But now they are taking over! Ironically, the two favorites I wanted to keep I loaned away and never saw again (The Translator and Losing Clementine). But, back to the books I can’t keep. I argue with myself and moi about what to do all the time.

Here’s how it goes:
Me: We donate them to a charity?
Myself: It’s uncorrected proof. No one wants to read an unfinished product.
Me: We could donate them to a library?
Moi: You wrote tags, notes and stuff all through them. You underlined and dog eared pages. (Shame on you, librarian!)
Me: We could give them to friends?
Myself: And how would you decide who gets what? Think of that Orgasmic Pregnancy one! Who would get that?
Me: We could offer them up free to anyone interested near and far? FaceBook? They would just pay my shipping costs?
Myself: And what if people don’t send you $$ to mail them? You are trying to renovate your kitchen, remember?
Me: We could throw them out?
Moi: You would hate yourself and chase after the recycling truck to bring them back.
Me: We could just keep them?
Myself: Out of the question. You don’t hold onto books unless you love them. You are running out of room with things you don’t love.
Me: I do hate clutter.
Moi: See?

So. What to do? Maybe when the weather gets warmer I’ll set up an alfresco book store with a big ole “Free” sign and see what happens. It could be a study in sociology. Do people like uncorrected proofs? Would they mind my in-page musings? Do people like free no matter what? And who will take that Orgasmic Pregnancy book?

Dive From Clausen’s Pier

Packer, Ann. The Dive From Clausen’s Pier. New York: Random House, 2002.

I have to start off by saying this seems to be the month for reading about selfish women. The Dive From Clausen’s Pier is about Carrie Bell, a young woman who doesn’t really give a lot of thought to other people’s feelings. After her fiance is paralyzed from a diving accident (hence the title of the book) Carrie must decide if she can spend the rest of her life with a quadriplegic she doesn’t really love anymore. After the decision has been made the rest of the book is more of the same, Carrie steamrolling over people’s emotions while she forges ahead in search of what makes her happy. The Dive From Clausen’s Pier is extremely well written. Character development is flawless. Carrie is supposed to make you angry. Her family and friends are appropriately hurt and slow to forgive. You may not agree with the character (I certainly didn’t when it came to her second big decision), but you will agree with the pages on which she comes to life.

Personal aside: Probably the person I connected with the best is Paul Frasier, better known as Kilroy. There was something magical and intriguing about his character. For days after finishing Dive From Clausen’s Pier I couldn’t stop thinking about him.

Best lines: “How could you become anything without having wanted to be that thing first?” (p 227), and “Lane and I were like lines that intersected and then split apart again, without a pattern but with a kind of purpose” (p 281). I have a friendship like that. We can go for months without speaking, living those parallel lives, until one day our paths cross and it’s like we never were apart.

Author Fact: This is Packer’s first novel.

Book Trivia: The Dive From Clausen’s Pier was made into a Lifetime Original movie.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “First Book” (p 89) because indeed, The Dive From Clausen’s Pier is Ann Packer’s first novel. Also, in More Book Lust in the chapter called “Ready, Set, Liftoff: Books to Ignite Discussion” (p 192). I would also agree with this selection because it’s the ultimate topic for discussion: what would YOU do?