I recently moved from Nebraska to Utah and moving my office was something of a task. The books filled up about 30 bankers/xerox paper boxes. When I moved into my new office in Salt Lake City, I was anxious to move my library in and fill up the bookcases. There is something comforting about having all of the familiar titles looking down over me as I work. As silly as it sounds, I felt a little vulnerable in an empty office – like I was exposed without being able to hide behind the collective scholarly authority of office full of books. In any case, I quickly arranged moving in and unpacking and feel much better now.
A panorama of the new digs, big wrap-around desk and wonderfully full shelves. And yes, if you were wondering, that IS a full run of the Western Historical Quarterly on the top right – inherited from John Wunder.
A few new colleagues have commented, “That’s a lot of books…have you read them all?” Truth be told, no. No, I have not read them all. Many I have read fully, many I have utilized in research – meaning I have dug extensively through portions of them, but haven’t sat down for a full cover-to-cover read, and a few I acquired through various means and have only leafed through casually to see if it was worth putting on the shelf.nearly all of them. Why do I bring this up? Well, as I look through titles I am repeatedly struck by how many of them I absolutely love. “Oh, I forgot about this one – this one was so good!” I think again and again and I look through the shelves. So here is what I’m going to start doing on occasion. As a titles jumps off the shelf I am going to pull them down, and pen a quick recommendation here – explaining why I think it is worth your consideration. I wouldn’t call these “book reviews” and they will probably be brief. As I sit and look around though, I realize how fortunate I have been over the past few years to be paid to sit and read awesome books. I figure that I’d best pass some of them along.
If you see a title in my library and want to solicit my thoughts on it – just drop me a note.