I came across a box of dusty, musty books in my basement. A box I had forgotten about. Sometimes I uncover a forgotten box and find hidden treasure: letters from a high-school sweetheart, or exchanges from a childhood pen pal or clippings of my first published work.

Not so this time. What I found is the equivalent of a trashbag full of dirty socks.

The box no doubt has been shuffled around our basement from point to point. I’m sure I originally dumped it in what is now our organized storage room, with good intentions of sifting through the titles for any keepers. Then, of course, it was forgotten and buried in the mess.

The majority of the books in this box seemed to be the product of a vanity press that specializes in contemporary romance novels. I think I read one romance novel in my life and I’m sure it was when I was in middle school. I think it was “Love’s Heaving Rapture” with passages that read: He unsheathed his sword and lanced her maidenhood. I’m quite certain my mother found it and confiscated it.

I’m considering the same fate for these books. This is another example of the books that get dumped on me “because I like books” by well-meaning folks who are cleaning house. Folks who seem to think there is no difference between “Passion’s Torrent” and “A Separate Peace.”

As if anything with a spine, cover and pages qualifies as worthy of space on my shelves.

But how can you explain to someone else your taste in books without coming off as a snob?

All is not lost. I’m a book snob to be sure, but a closeted one. Consider me spineless to the outside world. After all, how else would I have gotten my hands on these beauties?

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