Clearing Out: Classics and Criticisms

I managed to ditch quite a lot of books while I was moving, but even now, after I’ve dragged those books to storage and out again, I’m noticing things I really could have done without.  I want to stave off completely overloaded shelves for as long as possible, so if the book doesn’t bring me any kind of joy, it’s gone. Here are a few more things that made it into the donation bag.

Literary TheoryThese too books, Falling Into Theory and Literary Theory, are leftovers from my senior college English course. I haven’t cracked them open once since I stopped taking that class, and I don’t see myself doing so any time in the future.

Mrs. Dalloway and The HoursMrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and The Hours by Michael Cunningham are also leftovers from that same English course. I enjoyed both of them, but I barely had the brain capacity to ready Mrs. Dalloway the first time, and I was getting graded on it! So I don’t think I’ll be reading that one again.

Characters and ViewpointThese last two I debated on. Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card and Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress are both writing books that I used in my final craft essay for my MFA. They were really useful at the time, and both are full of highlights and sticky notes. There is the chance that someday I’ll want them for writing advice, but I never felt the need to flip through them like I do with Bird by Bird or Steal Like an Artist, and there are other writing books I’ve still yet to read if all I’m looking for is the inspiration.

Those are what’s going. What do you think? Am I making a mistake? Are there any books you decided to ditch recently? Let me know!


Word Nerd: Ligne Donnée

SparkIn one of my recent sweeps through Borders I picked up on of my nerdiest purchases to date: Penguin’s Dictionary of Literary Terms & Literary Theory. A book that probably stopped being practical once I got my BA in English, I still delight in learning about literature, and how people talk about it. And this book is proving that even though my college gave me that nifty piece of paper, there’s still plenty to discover.

Like this nifty term: ligne donnée. A French term coined by Paul Valery, it means “given line.” The book defines it as “the line that is ‘given’ to the poet by God, or by nature, or by a muse, or by some power outside himself.” Poets (and other writers, I’m going to say) have to come up with all the other lines by themselves, but there will always be that one, perfect line that seems to come out of no where. You can’t control when it occurs – but when it happens, it’s magic.