This is a City of Lost Things.ImageThis is the story of two of them.

This is not a big house. Did I say house? Apartment. I dwell in a small apartment. Yes, I have a lot of shelves, and yes, some of my books are not even on shelves but just stacked along the wall, but, still, there is only so much space here. It’s not like, say, The Strand Bookstore with its eighteen miles of books.

So how is it that I can’t find two books, two good-sized books? Big books. The books I wrote about this weekend. Lost! And now I can’t post what I wrote because I need to include some photos of the books in my post. (Below: Not the lost books, just an illustration of the situation:)ImageWhen a library loses a book, she loses a part of her memory. And no one wants to lose her memory. Of course, many memories aren’t worth saving, and many books (as I like to point out to LW) are not worth keeping around when space is as limited as mine is. Short-term books, I call them, like short-term memories. But these lost books are long-term books, important placeholders in my chronicle. So where the heck are they?

You can make them out in this picture, cropped from a photograph taken four or five years ago—they’re the two anthologies of children’s literature to the right of the Jules Verne biography. Their places are now, oddly enough, occupied by anthologies of science fiction and horror stories.


LW reminds me that the books I seek are not technically “lost,” they have just been misplaced. Or placed elsewhere. Great. Someone once wrote—probably in one of those books that got labeled short-term and was passed on when it should have been kept as long-term—that fear arises when something is not where it should be, is not in its right place. Like a skeleton in the closet or a finger in the pickle jar or a centipede anywhere. So if you detect a note of fear here, it’s because there seem to be forces at work removing things from where they should be. And putting them where they should not be. Be afraid. Be very afraid.