What's On Your Shelf?


I have family visiting right now - two weeks worth of visit. We haven't seen my 93 year old grandmother for about two years, so it's a welcome visit, although the normal stresses of doubling the number of people in a house and three adult women in the kitchen apply.

And as usually happens when people visit, our discussion turns to the books that are on the shelves covering at least two walls in every room of my house. The discussions that arise are markedly different depending upon whether our visitors are military or civilian, and my Grandmother's experience as an Army spouse during WWII was quite a long time ago.

This leads to strange comments like, "Oh! I see you have two of Iris Chang's books! She was so marvelous. It's just awful what happened to her. And what is this? You Can Fight Tanks With Bayonets. That's... interesting. Hm. And Militant Tricks? I haven't seen that title. Very interesting bookshelf."

I've always worried that if by some horrible coincidence the poop hits the fan in our house, the forensic investigators will take one look at our bookshelves and assume we're secret-selling arms dealers with a passion for survivalist practices.

I mean, hey, there's no question we've got the literature to survive a mega disaster (literature does not equal food or supplies, though, it just makes you feel better). But it's got to look suspicious to walk into someone's house and see an entire bookcase devoted to intelligence fiascos, double agents, and black ops. That particular bookcase is opposite the bookcase holding our horror genre books. Which is probably a bad juxtaposition now that I think about it. Stephen King and Aldrich Ames are probably not a good combination.

On the other hand, let a military person walk into our house and our bookshelves offer hours of delighted conversation and hashing out of various scenarios and conspiracy theories. "Dude! You have The Battle For Mogadishu! How did you like it? Don't you think that that this point they could have..."

I have to admit, our bookshelves are the reason that AFG and I have put off becoming foster parents at this particular stage of our lives. I'm not sure how a social worker would feel walking into a house and seeing titles like Terrorism in the Twentieth Century, Warlord, or The Jungle Warriors. They might feel kind of weird placing a child in our house in that case.

I'd love to know if anyone else has had some military/civilian disconnects due to their bookshelves. What are you all reading?

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