My husband and I are doing a major purging of the library. It hurts me - deep inside - to toss books aside, but the reality is that even with our library, even with the room renovated specifically to hold books and a place of reading, even with the bookshelves in the spare bedroom and along an entire wall of the dining room, even with the nooks and crannies where books also lie in small (or not-so-small) piles, and even up and down the stairs, where books stand between each rung of the bannister... We're out of room for books.
So we're holding ourselves to be fair, but a bit more heartless, as we look at each book and decide. I have a few rules myself - is it signed? It stays. Is it something I believe I will one day re-read (a rare thing)? It stays. Does it have some truly important memory attached to it? It stays.
Other than that - they go. So far, from the pocketbook fiction shelves (we haven't started the trade or hardcover shelves), I've been finding myself letting go of roughly half. They're in boxes now, and we'll have to come up with a solution after that. Part of me wants to leave them in those lovely little "find a book!" libraries at the side of the road... but no one has one around here. Bookcrossing, which used to be such a major joy in my life, is too daunting with where I live and my commute.
Letting books go is a little like watching something die. It shouldn't be. I read them. I enjoyed them. Time to move on...
"Urban Fantasy," by Richard Larson
This story was the perfect fit to my (somewhat) dark mood of literary burial. This is a story told with a shifting voice of a man who has lost his boyfriend, paralleled with his love of a vampire urban fantasy series he used to enjoy. Things feel real at first, but seem to be slipping into the unreal at a pace roughly equaled by his pain - such as bumping into his dead ex-boyfriend on the street. The reality of the man's life against what might be (or might not be) happening on a paranormal level is at first a vague sort of promise (potentially, could this be good?) that grows darker as the tale progresses.
The narrative creeps along, bringing the reader further and further into this real/not-real struggle, and ultimately left me shivering. It's deftly told, and disturbing, and has a remarkable ability to turn left when you're expecting a right.
"Urban Fantasy" appears in the Spring 2011 issue of Icarus Magazine.