Wait, don't answer that yet! The "book burner" part has a story. If you really are a book burner, if you really do make bonfires with books, then I'm not talking to you. My "live and let live" attitude gets a little cranky at the thought of people who toss matches and kerosene midst a bunch of Harry Potter books (or whatever other books you deem socially unacceptable).
So, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Are you a book lover, or are you a "book burner"? Seems in my former life (seriously, it seems like a lifetime ago because it was before I had children), I had a no-nonsense mother-in-law who simply did not like a bunch of books cluttering up her house. She is a sweet woman, and she still gives me hugs when she sees me, even though I'm not her daughter-in-law anymore. However, she and I were never gonna see eye-to-eye on the value of books, or rather the value of hoarding books, so I always tried to avoid the subject with her. Sorry, Dorothy, but those "uh-huhs" and nods from me when you were complaining about all of Doc's books? Those were my attempt to keep you on his trail and off of mine :)
Well, despite his wife's passion for getting rid of clutter in the form of piles of half-read novels and dog-eared favorites, Doc seemed equally determined to fill his house with the written word. He was a very smart man, that accidental book collector. I can close my eyes and still see the view as you rounded the corner of the kitchen at their house. Looking through the big kitchen windows, you might see a dog or cat or two, a few comfy old chairs, and (if it were the weekend) a man with a pipe reading a book. Glasses sliding down his nose, bits of stray pipe tobacco caught on his sweater vest, and a big fat book in his lap-- that was Doc when he wasn't being doctor(one of the best pediatricians ever) or concocting something strange in the kitchen(which might or might not have evolved from an actual recipe, and which might or might not actually taste delicious).
It seemed to me that Doc bought books every place he went. I was equally convinced that Dorothy complained about each and every new tome, too. Now, you must remember, this was many years ago, and time has that funny way of letting us mold our memories, so don't shoot me if I get details wrong, 'kay? I'll tell you, though, I loved the idea of having all those books scattered throughout the house. You could go into the tv den and pick and choose from a haphazard stack of books by the chairs. Want a Larry McMurtry western? How about yet another Civil War history of battles you vaguely remember from American history? Feel like cooking? One of the cookbooks from the kitchen might have grown legs and walked into the den. There were books lining shelves upstairs. There were books in the real living room. There were books in the kitchen.
For a book lover, also often known as book hoarders because we can't bear to get rid of a book we've bought, there is nothing closer to nirvana than free access to books with no "due by" date than a home filled with books that are generously loaned. I borrowed many a book, and I often had no problem figuring out a gift for Doc. That vintage set of Charles Dickens books in an antique shop somewhere in Pennsylvania? Bingo. Perfect Christmas present (and I wish I could remember the name of the antique store because they deserve praise for taking an order from a stranger over the phone and shipping all those books-- this was long before online shopping made everything easily accessible).
Well, there came a day when Doc and Dorothy decided a much smaller house would be better for them. Two story houses with dormers and basement are nearly perfect for raising eight children, but aren't really necessary once all the children are grown. Luck would have it that the smaller house had a huge den with bookshelves all along the length of the outside wall. Ah, book lovers' paradise :) Here's where the squabble over books took center stage once more.
Once again, I remind you that I was not a fly on the wall and my memory for detail is sometimes flawed. Now, to finish the story. It seems even those immense bookshelves were not going to hold all of the books from the two story house. Oh, how cruel, the thought of having to weed out some of your treasure. Oh, how delightful, having a bonafide reason to clear out clutter. Legend has it that Doc left the room, clenching his pipe between his teeth and muttering something about his wife being "a book burner!"
So, tell me, which are you? Book hoarder? or "Book Burner"? I promise I won't hold it against you if you say "book burner/clutter reducer". . .as long as you don't try to talk me into weeding out some of the books I haven't read in the last year or two :)