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A Box Set … And Other “Box Sets” I Keep

While on this quick trip to the Texas Hill Country visiting my mother and her new assisted living facility, I decided to decorate her room in the best way I knew how. With a box set of these five books from Abingdon Press.

It’s like I told her: “Mom, it’s just like a box set of the Chronicles Of Narnia. Except for the millions of copies in world-wide sales, it’s exactly the same thing.” There’s another reason I gave her that set — she is the one who taught me to read when I was four, and from the very beginning instilled in me a love of books. That set is in many ways the fruit of her early labor.

But all that got me thinking: what authors do I make sure that I read and keep all their books? As I attempt to de-clutter many of our bookshelves by giving many books away, who do I protect? Here they are:

Flannery O’Connor. Sadly, she didn’t live long enough to write a large number of novels. Yet, those she DID write, as well as the peerless collections of short stories, I am sure to keep. It’s all an homage to my senior thesis in college.

Richard Russo. His work is so good, so wry, so compelling. I’m reading his latest release, Chanes Are, even nowWhen I’m finished, it will go on the bookshelf in the “Russo” section.

Ann Patchett. Her writing seems so effortless. Which lets you know just how much effort it took. New book out later this fall; already pre-ordered.

Marcy Demansky. She only has four novels, but they are each wickedly and irreverently entertaining. Bad Marie in particular had me rooting for the title character with whom I have absolutely nothing in common.

Jess Walter. Who can turn the setting of Spokane, Washington and the genre of crime novel into the kind of art that plumbs the depths of human motivation? Jess Walter can. He even has a cameo in the forthcoming Simplify The Message; Multiply The Impact.

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