The last bookshelf

And what would you do if you were a turn-of-the-century Canadian with less than a year to live

You’ll be pleased to know that I am unlikely to become a homicidal maniac… Because if anything was going to send me dashing across the countryside with an ax, it was going to be assembling the Pier One bookshelf that was delivered today. This involved eighty (80) hex screws to be fastened with a weensy Allen wrench — which could be rotated about a quarter of a turn per turn. “Use hand tools only!” chirped the assembly instructions — wisely enough, since if a power drill had been handy when I discovered that I’d put the first shelf on backwards, I would have plunged it straight into my skull.

(AND I KNOW EXACTLY WHY I ENDED UP WITH AS MANY EXTRA PIECES AS I DID. THESE WERE SELECTIVE “FUCK YOU”S TO AN OVER-ELABORATE PROCESS, NOT THE RESULT OF IMPATIENCE AND INCOMPETENCE.)

In any case, this is the last bookshelf for my new home. Once the current shelving is full, it’s a zero sum game here — one book in, one book out.

…Which is why you should pay attention to me when I say I may need to purchase a hard copy of L. M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle, even though I have it on Kindle. It’s a lesser known title by the author of Anne of Green Gables, which I learned about from the commentariat at the late lamented Toast (https://the-toast.net/). Timid and discontent Valancy Sterling learns that she has a year to live and decides to make the most of it, ceasing to conform to the ways of her rigid and snobbish family. How she descends into bohemianism (eating hot dogs, wearing a green dress with fringe, nursing the local consumptive unwed mother) might not be the first things you and I would do to thumb our noses at society, but keep reading. It’s a surprisingly pro-sex take for the era, as Valancy proposes to local ne’er-do-well Barney Snaith — and they proceed turn the Canadian forest into their personal love nest.

Complications ensue, of course — you’ll have to read it yourself to learn more. (Pro tip: you can skip all the bits when Valancy raves about her favorite author. Like Tolstoy’s musings about history-with-a-capital-H in War and Peace, or any description of landscape in an Ann Radcliffe novel, you won’t be missing anything.)