The Read AND Rid Thing

After finishing the Hitchhiker’s series last weekend, I was determined to dig into the Read or Rid thing by reading something short that I could finish that same day. I decided to start with Residue of Song: Poems by Marvin Bell. I’ve had this book for about 15 years because I bought it from eBay in a bundle of Marvin Bell books so that I could get the out of print and very hard to find (it was the early internet shopping days) collection of poems, Stars Which See, Stars Which Do Not See. That collection of poems is fantastic and contains my all-time favorite love poem, “To Dorothy”. Anyway, to get the collection I wanted, I had to buy a bundle of five books. I’ve skimmed through the other four but nothing grabbed me so I never read them. Thus, it seemed like a good place to start for Read or Rid.

Last Saturday, I sat down and read it. Back when I was super into poetry, I had a certain process for reading it. First I just read it, like I would with any other thing. If something about it intrigued me, then I read it again, slower. Then I read it aloud. Then, if I loved it (and it wasn’t too long of a poem), I wrote it out. I used this for the poems in Residue of Songs and I only read one aloud. I never made it to the writing it out stage, but I did write down one lovely sentence:

Suddenly we were responsible for discourse, whereas,
years earlier we had been held only by the moon.

But nothing else really grabbed me. There was good stuff in there, and I saw many of the qualities that I appreciate about Stars Which See…. But these poems didn’t fill my mind with images or feelings or, well, much of anything, really.

Still, I finished it, and I realized that I will probably come across many books that I will read AND also want to get rid of. Residue of Song falls into that category. Part of me wants to keep this one because it is a set of Bell’s work (although I don’t think it’s complete) and the books are all signed. But then again, I feel like I should send it out into the world so that it has the chance to grab someone else.

Also, it felt really good to go back to my Librarything list and change the tags on Residue from “Read or Rid” to “Finished.”

P.S. Right now I’m rereading I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett because the last Discworld novel and final Tiffany Aching story, Shepherd’s Crown, came out earlier this month. I know I should be focusing on reading/ridding my current collection and not rereading and, worse yet, buying more books, but it’s Terry freaking Pratchett so “shoulds” can suck it. (Which is actually a good philosophy for life. Maybe I just found the new “Keep calm and carry on” — “Shoulds can suck it. Read More Discworld.”)


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