Wee update, with a discussion of BookMooching

So I am home for a long weekend in Washington, and got into some serious trouble at the Politics and Prose members book sale. This brought my Washington library to a crisis point of crowdedness, prompting a purge of some of the books that I could never imagine consulting or rereading (as well as a few duplicates). This otherwise painful task was rendered strangely delightful by my discovery (thanks to LibraryThing) of the BookMooch website (www.bookmooch.com). BookMooch is a used book trading site, which allows you to offer up your unwanted books for mooching, in return for points that allow you to mooch off others. The only expenses are the shipping costs. In fact, because you get fractions of points merely for listing books that you would like to give away, I have already mooched four books, while only sending off one. So the pain of giving away books has been greatly soothed by my eagerness to receive Joyce Carol Oates's "Bellefleur," Geraldine Brooks's "Year of Wonders," Marilynne Robinson's "Gilead" and Kamran Nazeer's harshly titled "Send in the Idiots: Stories from the Other Side of Autism."

In the meantime, I have set my sights on some of the books I have bought and borrowed here. I have begun one of my new P & P sale purchases, which also makes an appearance on my "1001 Books you must read before you die" project: Paul Auster's "The Book of Illusions" (2002). I am only a few pages in, but the opening is already more gripping than any book I have read recently. A literature professor who has just lost his whole family in a plane crash is interrupted in his attempt to drink himself to death when a clip from a silent comedy actually makes him laugh. He learns that this comedian's films are now so rare (in part because the actor disappeared at the height of his fame and ability) that most only exist in single copies in archives, donated by an anonymous benefactor. He writes a book about these films, and soon receives a letter: the comedian, whom everyone had presumed was long dead, wants to see him.

Meanwhile, I am also turning my mind back to Alan Moore's "From Hell," which I had to leave half-read went I left for London. It remains to be seen whether I have retained anything or whether I will need to start from scratch.

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