[This fragment is available in an audio version.]
A dozen years ago, our growing family created a problem: Too many books! So after I finished ripping our thousand CDs, we repurposed the CD rack into a bookcase, stuffed it with our genre paperbacks, and put it in the guest room. A few years later, the guest room became our son’s room and the pulp fiction went into boxes. But just now after another bout of domestic reorganization, they’re back out among us. I find their dingy colorful presence cheering. Check out the picture!
There you have it; 7½ shelves of Sci-Fi, 6½ of mysteries and thrillers, 250 or so books. Likely very few of these will feature in Lit Crit courses any time soon, but they are full of imagination and intensity and color, and in aggregate contributed significantly to the comfy and cluttered interior decor of my mind.
Now a few statistics, which I suspect that connoisseurs of 20th-century popular fiction will find pleasing.
Most popular authors: Rex Stout (32 volumes), Gene Wolfe (21), Elmore Leonard (16).
Less-renowned authors whom we apparently enjoy and you might too: Michael Dibdin (9), Clifford D. Simak (8), Sara Paretsky (7).
Special smiles: Delany, Disch, LeGuin, Leiber, Zelazny.
We have moderns! Charlie Stross (9), by which we observe that he became productive before pulp became Kindlified.
Most-loved, judged by the level of tatter: The Mote in God’s Eye and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I’m pretty sure I bought the latter when I was about 14.
Retired due to not having aged well: Travis McGee.
Still on the upstairs shelves due to being mostly hardcover: Gibson and Gaiman.
Their new location means we walk by them when we go upstairs to bed. After another shitty 21st-century day, the appeal of curling up with 20th-century storytelling will be strong.