For the past year I have been gradually cataloging my books on LibraryThing, a site that allows members to compare their libraries, share reviews, chat and, in general, waste time that could be better spent reading. Lately I've been getting down to the bottom shelves and the bottom of stacks, discovering books I haven't seen in years and, in many cases, didn't even remember owning. Here are a few of those forgotten books:
K. Jason Sitewell's Book of Spoofs (1989) -- K. Jason Sitewell may have actually been Norman Cousins. At any rate, Sitewell used to write outlandish letters to the Saturday Review, such as one denouncing a bill in Congress that supposedly would have abolished golf. My notes in the book indicate that I once read it, but I don't remember it at all.
Somebody Else Is on the Moon by George H. Leonard (1976) -- Leonard, who according to his bio once worked for the government in unnamed federal agencies, reports that our government is withholding evidence of alien life on the moon.
Extraterrestrial Civilizations by Isaac Asimov (1979) -- Speaking of aliens, Asimov analyzes the chances of finding intelligent life on other planets. He likes those chances.
If No News, Send Rumors: Anecdotes of American Journalism by Stephen Bates 1989 -- One of the stories Bates tells is about John F. Kennedy (yes, that John F. Kennedy) covering the British elections for the International News Service in 1945. He predicted Winston Churchill's Conservatives would lose. William Randolph Hearst ordered Kennedy to change his article to predict a Conservative victory. He did. The Conservatives lost.
Art and the Accidental in Anne Tyler by Joseph C. Voelker (1989) -- I'm an admirer of Anne Tyler's novels, but I didn't remember owning a book of critical commentary about her early work. I must read this one day.
Strictly Personal and Confidential: The Letters Harry Truman Never Mailed (1982) -- In one of those letters Truman never mailed, he wrote, "I read your telegram of the tenth with a great deal of interest and outside of the fact there isn't a true statement in it, it is an interesting document."
Everybody's Dowser Book by Ona C. Evers (1977) -- This self-published, illustrated 70-page book tells hows to use anything from metal coat hangers to Y-shaped branches to find underground water. My dad used to use L-shaped wire to find the drainage pipe in his field, so I'm not going to knock dowsing, but I never tried it myself.
Man the Unknown by Alexis Carrel (1935) -- I must have once read a little of bit of this one-time bestseller. Inside I found my wife's college ID card that I had apparently used as a bookmark.