Shelf 1/216

Let me take you back in time. It’s Tuesday, the ninth of January. I’m in the Rogers Park library. I just came up with the idea for The Library Project and I need something to read, so it’s a good time to begin.I start with shelf one. I take down all of the books (22 in all) and evaluate each one, mostly based on the cover (take that folk wisdom) and other random criteria that I’ll describe after the jump.A note about my reading style: if I think I may like a book, I give it the page turner test. I open to some random page and then start reading. If, when I get to the end of the page, I want to keep reading, then it passes and the book comes home with me. If my mind wanders before I turn the page and/or the thought of turning the page feels like I’ve just signed myself up for some arcane form of punishment only found in the Medieval Times Torture Museum, then the book stays on the shelf.Some books, noted by the asterisks, are put to the side. These are the ones I’ll read, or if there are too many, I’ll examine them again and narrow it down to an undisclosed manageable number.Shelf 1 Contents, Books 1-22:

  1. Edward Abbey. THE FOOL’S PROGRESS in hardcover. Judged by cover.
  2. Jeff Abbott. PANIC in drug store paperback. Also judged by cover.
  3. Keith Ablow. COMPULSION in hardcover. No interest.
  4. Keith Ablow. MURDER SUICIDE in hardcover. Not my genre.
  5. Peter Abrahams. CRYING WOLF in hardcover. Pass.
  6. *****Diana Abu-Jaber. CRESCENT***** in hardcover. I like the pretty cover. It looks newish, which means that it probably doesn’t have roaches. Her first book got good reviews from the New Yorker and the New York Times. Hmm, suspicious — no good reviews on this one. I read half a page and it did pass the infamous page turner test. Definite maybe.
  7. *****Chinua Achebe. NO LONGER AT EASE in paperback. I like him. I loved THINGS FALL APART. This cover is an awful purple (my least favorite color), but goes in the like pile simply by strength of the author. Which is I guess what it should be in the first place. Feh, book marketing.
  8. Kathy Acker. GREAT EXPECTATIONS in hardcover. No — it looks like it just came out of an AOL book application. And, the title has been done. And done well.
  9. *****Peter Ackroyd. THE LAMBS OF LONDON in hardcover. Maybe — good Publisher’s Weekly review, but not thrilled with the idea of historical fiction. Wait! I just opened it. It has Scooby-Doo stickers. Definite second look.
  10. Karl Ackerman. THE PATRON SAINT OF UNMARRIED WOMEN in hardcover. No — I hate the cover and the title.
  11. Alice Adams. AFTER THE WAR in hardcover. It has an appealing cover with a sweet picture of her on the back. Wow, she won a bunch of awards. I will come back to this book — it picks up where A SOUTHERN EXPOSURE ended. This sounds great, but I must read the first one first. Too bad it’s not on this shelf.
  12. Alice Adams. ALMOST PERFECT in hardcover. I will mark for later.
  13. Richard Adams TALES FROM WATERSHIP DOWN in drug store paperback. While I enjoyed the first one, this just sounds like a blatant appeal for money, like the Lion King 2. I will not fall for it. That said, if I buy it for my husband, Matt, I can read it too. Interesting, but still a no.
  14. Richard Adams. WATERSHIP DOWN in paperback. I own it. It’s a great read.
  15. Kim Addouizio. LITTLE BEAUTIES in hardcover. Pretty cover but it screams chic lit, which I might consider, but with three books already on the table — no dice.
  16. Elizabeth Adler. ALL OR NOTHING in hardcover. No — it looks like bad 80’s glitz. Yuck.
  17. Elizabeth Adler. SOONER OR LATER in hardcover. No, see above.
  18. Elizabeth Adler. THE HOUSE IN AMALFI in hardcover. Updated cover and photo but still too suspicious.
  19. Elizabeth Adler. IN A HEARTBEAT in hardcover. Still no.
  20. Elizabeth Adler. INVITATION TO PROVENCE in hardcover. My G-d, she has a lot of books.
  21. *****Elizabeth Adler. THE LAST TIME I SAW PARIS in hardcover. Ok, she has worn me down. I will take this one. It seems to be the shortest. It’s about France. Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist liked it. Fine.
  22. Elizabeth Adler. THE RICH SHALL INHERIT in hardcover. Boo — we are back to the 1980’s smarm and another book! (Watch her turn out to be my favorite author.)So, that’s the entire shelf.Here are the books that I take home:Abu-Jaber, Diana. Crescent Achebe, Chinua. No Longer at EaseAckroyd, Peter. The Lambs of London : a NovelAdler, Elizabeth. The Last Time I Saw Paris

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