While going through a stack of C. P. Snow’s novels to pick some to remove from my library I came across a bookmark: “Old Chinese Proverb—ABC, Avoid Boring Conversation”. Good advice. However, conversation was often hard to come by when traveling. Alone on business in the evening, I often found myself reading while eating in Chinese restaurants and used the paper strips from fortune cookies as bookmarks. Many of these little strips of advice have found their way into my library.
Good conversation often finds its way into the dialogs of C. P. Snow’s novels. Maybe that was why I collected them for a time.
C. P. Snow was an English physicist and novelist who wrote extensively about things British. He was educated at Christ’s College Cambridge, which became the fictional setting for three of his novels. He achieved fame for his series of novels called Strangers and Brothers set in his former university and in the halls of government. The series was popular in England, but did not catch on here in America. For some reason I became interested Strangers and Brothers while working in Washington D. C. and began scouring the used bookshops for the hard to find copies. All in all, I collected 6 of the ten and read them with great interest.
The series is the life story of the narrator who lived in London, Cambridge and a small provincial town. The time covered goes from 1914 to 1963 and encompasses two world wars. Charles Scribner’s Sons published the series in the U.S. and at least one novel, Corridors of Power, was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection.
Going back to the library are: The Sleep of Reason (10th novel in Strangers and Brothers), Corridors of Power (book club selection), The Search (his first novel) and In Their Wisdom (short listed for the Booker Prize in 1974).
This leaves 5 volumes for deaccession.
The deaccession count: Posts 10, Books 24.
P.S. There is an 11th volume in the Corridors of Power series, but I stopped reading them at number 10. My library also has a copy of Snow’s brilliant essay: Two Cultures & A Second Look.