Lists: Books You Don’t Need

I’m fond of the motto of the Montague (MA) Bookmill, “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find.” A list today of books you don’t need, courtesy of Roger Angell’s Let Me Finish.

Beginning Polo
Music in Geriatric Care
Adultery and Divorce in Calvin’s Geneva
Pray Your Weight Away
Selected Lithuanian Short Stories
Toilet Training in Less Than A Day
Modern Volleyball
The Sexual Christian
The Law and Your Dog
Septic Tank Practices
Successful Fundraising Sermons
The Handbook of Wrestling Drills
The Father of Air Conditioning
Creative Insomnia
What Can I Do with My Juicer?
Hamtramck Then and Now
The Personality of the Horse
Breaking Your Horse’s Bad Habits
The Passaic River
Refrigeration in America
All About Guppies
The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum
Haikus for Jews
An Essay on Calcareous Manures
Meet Calvin Coolidge
Knitting with Dog Hair

These are all from the bookshelf of the late Gardner Botsford, a longtime editor of the New Yorker. His office, reports Angell, was near where books destined (or not) to be reviewed by the magazine were delivered. Over the years he collected these obscure, yet earnest titles, which, as Angell puts it, “became a solace for him and his colleagues.” Angell’s recollections of Botsford, less well known than other editorial stars of the magazine, including Angell’s own stepfather, E.B. White, are lovely as is the whole book.

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