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Clutter Crackdown

It's time again to sort through all those dusty books you've accumulated.


How are your resolutions holding up so far?

If the diet/exercise/purity routine is already heading for the trash, let's get real and set attainable goals. Like clutter removal--as in all the books collecting dust because you can't bear to let go.

Some, like old friends, are a bit shabby around the edges but comfortable to have around. Others are tedious--you can't get past the first few pages, but plan to try again when the next plague strikes. Many serve as decor, suggesting literary expertise. Excuses, excuses.

So, how about a generosity resolution? Give away possessions that threaten to bury you in the next earthquake. Consider giving used books to the Friends of the Library--there are collection bins in convenient places at most libraries.

What about donating them to the housebound or convalescent facilities? Hospital volunteers wheel book carts around to patient floors--another possibility for your overflow. Second-hand bookstores survive on pre-owned goods.

Be creative and start your own free gift library. Give one book for each one you acquire, plus a few more. If that's too wrenching, call it a revolving-lending library. Our monthly writers group shares books among members. You might even give someone a gift of a book you stole a peak at first. As long as coffee-soaked biscotti didn't land on any pages, who's to know?

Not convinced? Then keep the economy healthy--buy more books. But don't forget to share one or two with this weak-willed columnist.

Happenings: Highlights of a few coming events during January for your calendar:

Jan. 10, 2:30-5:30 p.m. Dennis Prager--radio personality, lecturer and theologian--will discuss and sign his latest book, "Happiness is a Serious Problem, A Human Nature Repair Manual" (Regan Books). At Barnes & Noble, Calabasas, (818) 222-0542.

Jan. 20, 7 p.m. Jennifer Carter and Joel Hirschhorn, husband and wife co-authors of "Titanic Adventure--One Woman's True-Life Voyage Down to the Legendary Ocean Liner" (New Horizons) will discuss the book as well as offer a video presentation. The first woman to dive down to the Titanic in a submersible, Carter is also an Emmy award-winning producer for National Geographic and IMAX productions.

Hirschhorn, best-selling author and composer, is a two-time Oscar winner and two-time Tony nominee. An added feature of their appearance will be Hirschhorn's piano performance of a concerto he wrote for his wife. At Borders in Thousand Oaks. 497-8150.

Catch you next week.

* Information about book-signings, writers groups or publishing events can be faxed to Ann Shields at (805) 647-5649, or e-mailed to

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