Shin the Homeowner (Prior)

Yeah, I own a house in the San Francisco Bay area.  I just missed the anniversary of the date I purchased it, Nov. 1, 1981, and I hope it isn't too upset with me.  Perhaps having a section of my website dedicated to this fine bit of paradise will make it feel better. Probably not as much as if I cleaned it up real nice, but it's a start.  


This section has grown to include the house, the yard, the garage, the car and environs.

Last Update: August 7, 2022

The John Shinnick Web Site

Green Hills book was published the year I was born and depicted a “future” maybe 70 years distant, a.k.a. today. Should be fun! I’ve just started it. I kinda wish it was an e-book so I could enlarge the type! Emerson will be next. Then perhaps the Richelieu book mentioned earlier.


Though not particularly Christian, I have three Bibles. Only one will I keep. I bought a copy of “The Living Bible” because it was written in a style I could actually digest. I proceeded to read it cover to cover (except for The Song of Solomon which my brother recommended that I read the King James version for its literary brilliance – I did so and it was indeed most excellent in that regard.) I treat this book as reference.


The second Bible is that King James version. It can go with no qualms. I had a discussion with one of the people at the library about bibles in general. He said that nobody buys them, so please do not donate. Odd then, that I should be someone who bought one.


The third was a bit hard to figure. Old and cover falling off, it had a strange attraction, an inscription inside the front cover: “A Christmas Gift to Fred and Lily From Mother” then a couple of inches down, “1925”. Fred and Lily would be my father’s parents, so mother would probably be my great grandmother on my grandmother’s side, Ellen Graham. I guess this only because of the informal “Lily” rather than Lillian. It could easily have been that was Floretta Goodell, from my Grandfather’s side. I can’t tell, nor does it really matter. There are no other markings in the book and it will not live to see 100.

A Learned Man, Part 2


To understand this piece, look at last month’s essay in which I questioned the need to keep books I’d already read. While my library was never extensive, it was taking an ever-increasing amount of space in my house, notably my bedroom and bedroom closet where most were stored.


Well, over this last month I got busy on the project. Could I go so far as to perhaps cut loose of a quarter or even a third of my collection? I started by adding a few books to the box I’d already set aside for donation to my local library. That was easy, and away they went. My town is small and it was just one box going down to the library just three or four minutes from my house. Easy-peasy.


My next step was to start taking books off my shelves that simply looked like likely candidates for volumes I wouldn’t miss. What was sadly missing was a strategy. An algorithm for separating the wheat from the chaff so to speak. I had three stacks of books on my bedroom floor for about a week, patiently awaiting my verdict. 


The algorithm never came to me. At least not the one I initially envisioned. As I suspected, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were set aside for keeping. The Silmarillion and other Tolkien-related books would go.  Books and other writings done by friends also stayed. Reference books were generally given a reprieve. I have numerous language books, mostly Spanish, some French. I’m making yet another stab at learning Spanish so I’m keeping them, and I occasionally go back to look up a French word here and there. 


Musical instruction books abounded. I have books covering guitar, piano, sax, flute, mandolin, harmonica and banjo. I’m keeping those for now. But if I treat them separately, I’m sure I’ll find lots of duplication and half of them will go. There are a few that for now will stay that defy all logic. A book on the Medici family, Douglas Adams’ “Last Chance to See”, a book on Cardinal Richelieu that for the life of me I can’t remember if I read or not, and a small cadre of other “inexplicables” that will stay for now.


But I quickly filled up three more boxes and to the library I went, oddly feeling no qualms about the process or the potential feeling of loss. It was odd that after dropping off these three boxes, I felt no misgivings at all, but rather, a sense of having lightened my load. Upon returning, I soon found myself continuing the process of deciding that most of my collection would not be missed. Three more boxes were filled and the following Tuesday, were donated. It felt good.


The music and language books were moved to some vacant space I had in the breakfront cabinet I have in my “business room”, originally a second bedroom except that I rarely have company. The top shelf in my bedroom closet was now clear, all six feet of it, as were two shelves of my bookshelf unit and other miscellaneous areas. 

There is a handful of books that I’ve had forever but never read. A collection of essays and journals by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Heinlein’s “The Green Hills of Earth.” 

Three of the seven boxes of books that found their way from my bookshelves to the local library for sale.

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