The Bookcase

“Nietzsche is pietzshe” – Tee shirt slogan popular among undergraduates in the late fifties who hadn’t read him and were unaware that his name didn’t rhyme with “peachy”.


I just had a memory flash from thirty years ago when a new friend whom i’d selected for attributes other than intelligence was sitting in my livingroom and looked up at my American literature bookcase.

“Have you read all these books?” he wondered with undisguised skepticism.

He found my affirmative hard to believe, so we came up with a test. I’d turn my back, and he’d take a volume and begin reading aloud at a random point in it.

My job was to identify the work, and i astonished myself at being able, book after book after book, to name the author and title, often after the first sentence and always after two or three until he finally gave up.

I wonder if i could do this now, impaired memory and all.  And i hope to be able to remember to ask my next visitor to try this test with me.  Probably not because i just looked at my bookcase and spotted book after book about which i could remember almost nothing.

My younger readers might find it entertaining to perform the same test, and if you do, please tell me about it.  Well, if you pass.

Meanwhile, another in my Garage Doors series.

Garage door

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