I moved recently, and my collection of books that I had shipped to myself just arrived. Do not EVER send anything 3000 miles via parcel post or media mail. I’m just glad that nothing fell out of the gaping hole left in one of my boxes where the side was ripped out.

I am so happy to have my books again! These are some of my favorites which are the core of my library:

Family Happiness by Leo Tolstoy. This story is so beautifully written and captures human emotion perfectly.

Here if You Need Me, a memoir by Kate Braestrup. She is a Unitarian Universalist minister and a chaplain to game wardens. It’s filled with inspiring meditations on nature and God—but her conception of God is vague and natural (as opposed to supernatural).

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins was my absolutely indispensable guide when I first became an atheist. The first copy that I owned was stolen, and I sincerely hope that person found it enlightening. For me, this is like the atheist’s equivalent of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Whatever else of Dawkins’ blather I find ridiculous, he was the one who held my hand through my first months of atheism. So it’s only for sentimental reasons that my signed copy of The God Delusion is also part of my permanent library, because I thought it was wholly uninspired.

The Varieties of Scientific Experience by Carl Sagan is like the Old Testament for nonbelief. I don’t know why, but that’s how it seems. In the beautiful, poetic, mysterious, ground-laying way.

Broca’s Brain by Carl Sagan will never be edited out of my library. This is the book I always forget about but enjoy immensely. The chapter “The Amniotic Universe” is a real treat that I like to pull out on rainy days. Who knew that Carl Sagan could sound so much like Frank Tipler?

The Big Book for Peace is a children’s book that is now out of print, a collection of picture stories and poems about peace, written by well-known children’s authors and illustrators. All the proceeds from the book went to organizations like Amnesty International. The stories have a wise simplicity that I just don’t see in children’s books anymore. Whenever I have the opportunity to give a gift to a child, I try to hunt down a copy of this book.


3 thoughts on “books!

  1. Josh

    I must be tired. I first read that as “Don’t Ever Ship 3000 books!”

    I’ve never hear of those first two books. Now I’m going to have to go check them out…

    An addition that you might like if you’ve not read it is “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman.” And it’s sequels.

  2. Rachel

    The second time I shipped my personal library via media mail, one of the boxes got waylaid for a month. When it finally arrived, it was packaged in a completely different box, was missing several of the books I had originally packed, and included several books and a package of chocolate that I had never seen before. Of course the post office was no help when I inquired about tracking down the other aggrieved customer to trade our stuff back.

    I still use media mail from time to time, but now I also buy insurance and take inventory.

  3. Lily Post author

    I did get insurance for my books, and I’m pretty sure the “insured” sticker was the only thing preventing the box from getting disemboweled. I’m still waiting on another box of books, which was sent a month ago!


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