How to cope with diversity

All projects run longer than scheduled. So when I planned for remodeling the farmhouse as a two-week project, I figured it would take four weeks. But we are on week eight because we’re waiting for tile. And when the farmer and I have an argument, he says, “Go to Home Depot and buy some tile so we can take baths.”

It is useless to try to explain to him why Home Depot tile is not innovative design. He doesn’t care. He just wants to be clean. I used to think diversity was my best friend marrying a black guy. But the guy graduated from rich-kid private schools and has tenure at UCLA and, at this point, I think diversity is not skin color but rather social upbringing.

I noticed there’s a lot of information on how to create diversity, but there’s not a lot of information about how to cope with it once you have it. So here are my tips:

1. Accept that some people don’t care about what you care about.
It’s true that we have not been very clean during the remodeling. All the plumbing is on hold. We take showers under the spigot for the well, and I keep thinking a towel is dirty, and put it in the dirty laundry, and then a week later it looks relatively clean, so I use it.

The farmer is concerned that people will think we don’t wash. He says people in the country judge you by whether you’re clean. This is the hardest part of remodeling for him.

The hardest part for me was painting because everyone besides my designer, Maria Killam, told me that it’s a sin to paint woodwork. I painted anyway.

The painters were so offended by the idea of painting woodwork that after they did the whole upstairs they asked if I changed my mind because they could still leave the woodwork downstairs unpainted.

Also: The painters wouldn’t paint the pink bedroom until the farmer expressly approved, in person, the color of paint. (His commentary: “Don’t call me in from the field to look at paint again, okay?”)

2. Know when you have to get your way.
What we ended up with are colors that make me happy and creative.

In fact, these are the same colors I chose for my childhood bedroom. My parents were so sure that I’d hate the colors when I went through puberty that they bought everything really cheap. But I never stopped loving my bright blue carpet. (Even now I remember the crayon I used to pick the carpet color: Cornflower blue.)

3. Don’t try to change others. See the world differently yourself.
I was going to go for farmhouse chic decor. But only non-farmers like farmhouse chic: you don’t need an old bench in your house when you have four in your barn. So I decided that steampunk is a better look for me, and maybe I should sell our old barn boards — which I constantly rescue from the farmer’s bonfires — to the farm-fetish people of New York City.

4. Seek out opposing views, just to practice processing them.
Oh. Wait. Speaking of New York City, when I tell a New Yorker that I live on a farm, do you know what they ask? “How many bedrooms is the house?” Like all houses are weekend houses on the Hudson. And do you know what Wisconsin natives ask when I tell them I live on a farm? “Do you burn couches?” It’s so common for farmers to burn furniture in their yard that people in Wisconsin know which furniture makes the best fire. (Yes, we did, in fact, burn furniture. But I didn’t realize it until my nanny asked if she could have the dresser we’re not using, and the farmer said, “It was cheap wood, anyway.”)

5. Use innocuous obsessions to distract from genuine conflict.
While I’ve been waiting to unpack, I have been gardening — adding plants the Amish farmer down the highway has on sale because it’s too late in the summer to plant them.

Also while I’ve been waiting to unpack, I have been sort of unpacking. Going through books. I always try to throw some books out when I move because I have too many. In my 20s, my walls were covered in books. But once I realized that living a life buried in books is a sign of dysfunction, I’ve been trying to cut back. I still am not able to read a book from the library. I have to own it. But I am able to throw out a book if I no longer remember anything about it.

6. There’s relief: A new, jarring way of thinking becomes tame over time.
I read Fear of Flying the first year out of college, and then I realized I was missing a whole part of the literary canon, so I spent a year reading the history of women writing about sex. It was an eye-opening year, but twenty years later, the books are not as challenging. I throw out almost all the books, but I save:

Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong

The Pillow Book, by Sei Shonagon

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson

My Secret Garden, by Nancy Friday

The Story of O, by Pauline Reage

Then I got worried that the town is so small that everyone watches what everyone throws out, and people will not appreciate the literary aspects of books like House of Incest.

I told the farmer that he should be careful bringing the box to the dump because some people would think it’s porn.

“Oh, really?” was all he said. And he moved those books a little bit away from the trash pile.

Then I noticed the books were making their way slowly, one by one, to our pink bedroom.

7. Real diversity requires real patience.
The tile is not the only thing holding us up. Also the faucets. Which the farmer assumed was the contractor’s fault and not mine because what sane woman would wash dishes in an outside well for eight weeks on her own volition?

“Actually,” I say, “I need brass polished finish for the s-trap, and I have had a hard time finding it.”

The farmer tries very hard to understand why a nickel finish on the pipes would not be steampunky-y enough for my farmhouse kitchen. “I hate to end up with a kitchen that is actually ironic commentary on our farm life instead of insightful commentary.”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“It’s why I need brass pipes instead of nickel. Steampunk is insightful commentary on vintage decorating.”

The farmer hugs me. He knows I’m onto something, and maybe he can wait another week. Or three.

We go up to the bedroom. We knock over the stack of maybe-porn and we bump into the chandelier so hard that it sounds like wind chimes. We pull off the duvet that I had to travel to New York City to find, and just as the farmer is about to go down on me he says, “What’s this?”


“There’s dirt.”


“How do you get dirt in your underwear? Were you gardening nude or something? How does this happen?”

I think about the dirty towel getting me dirty instead of dry. I think the farmer is not going to want to hear that we have no shower and no washing machine and no end in sight. So I say, “Yeah. I think it’s gardening.” And somehow, he’s relieved.

107 replies
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  1. Alex @ Happiness in this World
    Alex @ Happiness in this World says:

    Ah, remodeling hell. Brings out the best and worst in any relationship. Very nicely done, the way you integrated diversity lessons from this (though I’m not sure diversity in the usual sense of the word fits best here–perhaps just differences in values between people, which exist in even the closest romantic relationships). Hope you get a shower soon.

  2. Jonha @ Happiness
    Jonha @ Happiness says:

    Wow, I was half through reading and wow, your readers are way fast! Love the tips, I think it’s really important to 1. “Accept that some people don't care about what you care about.” Sometimes it can be really frustrating but that’s how we should deal with it.

    “Don't try to change others. See the world differently yourself.” Love it! There’s nothing more challenging than trying to change a whole lot so why not change your attitude towards it.

  3. barbara hunter
    barbara hunter says:

    I LOVE this column! It was so fun to read~

    I also am learning the lesson that some people (my husband) don’t care about the same thing we do…he really does not care if I don’t vacuum the living room for six weeks. Maybe I should rejoice in that and quit beating myself up for not having a perfect home!

    And cornflower blue was my favorite crayon color, too.

  4. Don
    Don says:

    Sure great to have you post again. Great story about the remodeling and good points about diversity.

  5. DAVE
    DAVE says:

    “…living a life buried in books is a sign of dysfunction….”:
    Really? And why is that, exactly? Walls of books not steam-punky enough for your new interior look P?

    I may be buried in books–and happily so–but I also have indoor plumbing. ;-)

  6. Alina
    Alina says:

    Hilarious!! I hope you find the right faucets soon. Although it sounds like you are kind of enjoying the chaos :)

  7. groneg
    groneg says:

    i remember cornflower blue in the set of 64. It was one of the colors I really couldn’t stand. It looks great on a wall though.

  8. D
    D says:

    I am also glad to read your blogs again. Although this one was a little boring. I am not sure why you feel the need to anchor the really interesting stuff (your life) in pointersabout work. Esp. when you are on a farm and your advice seems geared to an office environment. Hope this is not hurtful.

  9. Lauren Shanks
    Lauren Shanks says:

    You don’t get Penelope at all, do you? Sounds like you were someone that freaked out over the miscarriage/abortion issue, too. See, Penelope uses obscure and real-life examples to drive home a larger point. Get with the program, Ryan!

    Missed ya, Pen! Great post!

  10. Irving Podolsky
    Irving Podolsky says:

    Ya know, P,

    The more you write about the Farmer, the more I LOVE him! And I’m a guy! He actually let you steampunk his house, paint the wood and make his bedroom pink? He allowed that? And you started construction BEFORE all your materials arrived? And he hasn’t moved out to the barn? Permanently? Incredible!

    I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with patience. Meaning, it’s not my friend. But your Farmer, he’s the Essence of Patience, and concentrated. If you could bottle it, with pink and blue “I-Love-You” labels, you guys would be billionaires. I’d buy a truck load. Or maybe I’d go to farmer school and learn how to watch corn grow, cuz ya can’t rush that either. Maybe I’d learn as well, that when rain takes and hike and crops turn to toast, maybe it would FINALLY sink in that nobody’s got control, anywhere. Maybe farmers have it figured out, like the Indians. Maybe when you live off the land, and you’re connected to the sky, even though you don’t call it God, you live in that Special Place where a pink bedroom is no big deal.

    I’ve decided, my next wife, in my next life, will be a farmer. More farmer wisdom, please. And I’m glad you’re back on the air. Missed you.


  11. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    INMHO Go simple and classic with the tile. Stylish tiles look really bad five years later, and then you realize they’re stuck to the walls. An exception for hand-crafted tiles that weren’t in style anyway, but you can end up overdoing those…

    I like your definition of diversity. Skin colour is so 20th century. Diversity of perspective is way more interesting.

  12. Livgladen
    Livgladen says:

    I unsubscribed because of the woodwork, which I know seems petty, but if you look deeper, the woodwork is everything. Sorry, but you won’t miss me.

      • Mneiae
        Mneiae says:

        After you spend 2 full weeks putting in the best wood there is, which is not even within your means, and staining it as part of your project to make a perfect house for your family, then interior designers decide ruin it with paint, talk to me. Wood that is painted can be the lowest quality wood and normally is; therefore, painting high-quality wood is a travesty.

  13. Roberta Warshaw
    Roberta Warshaw says:

    Yay! Welcome back! Glad to know you are still alive and well in Wis-cahhhhn-sin.

    Love the part about how many bedrooms…..gotta love those New Yorkers!

    Enjoy your garden! The one thing I do miss about living on the farm….

  14. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    LOVED the dirt in the underwear part – great post overall but the last bit really tickled me! You and the farmer are just so precious together.

  15. Kim
    Kim says:

    Wait … owning too many books is a sign of dysfunction? How many do you have to have before you cross that line?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I think there are a few standards. One is if you have to earn more money to buy a bigger living space to house your books. Get rid of some so you can work under less pressure and have extra time to read.

      Another standard is if your family values books so much that gaining ownership of family books becomes the carrot that guides family relationships.

      Finally. Why do we need to live with a thousand books? I think only to show how smart or well read we are. And, frankly, if you have to announce that then you’re probably not.


  16. MichaelG
    MichaelG says:

    Steampunk? Really? On the tech blogs, that is so over with. And it’s always been a sarcastic, ugly style.

    Let’s hope the farmer really doesn’t care what you do with decor.

  17. Dawn Lennon
    Dawn Lennon says:

    How beautiful of you to share these great insights about diversity from the convergence of two polar opposite ways of life–farm and city! You have such a unique perspective and I am grateful that you are using it to debunk many misconceptions.

    I too live on a farm, albeit a small one, where I bred horses commercially for many years. I came here from suburbia, was embraced, educated, and supported by a wonderful community of livestock and crop farmers who know what’s important and what isn’t.

    I’m happy that you are happy and back here. Love the colors, your respect for those old materials, your sensitivity about those books, and your ability to care about differences. Thanks.


  18. Susie
    Susie says:

    Glad to see you blogging again.

    Books are not a sign of disfunction, seriously. Just ask me, I am normal and own a few thousand. I must say though, no one likes to help me move. Maybe it is the type of books you own?

    To Ryan Smith: That was not very nice. Diversity of perspective and background is actually very difficult to overcome and comes up in the workplace as well as in our personal lives. What is important to me (due to my experiences and perspective) might not be important to my boss. Knowing that and being able to give my boss what is important to him makes me a highly valued employee who also gets what I want and what I think is important out of the situation. Others in the office have a hard time figuring out that what they think is important is just a side issue by the person in charge and can never figure out why the boss isn’t happy with them. They think they are getting everything important done while neglecting what is important to the boss. This is a very important form of diversity, the diversity of perspective.

  19. Shayla
    Shayla says:

    Awesome post, Penelope and welcome back! Your blog is highly entertaining and I find myself clicking through links to post-references and sometimes get lost reading older entries for hours.

    Susie, thanks for pointing out the info about diversity of perspective to Ryan. I think it’s a key to our work lives and to our personal lives that is hard to understand-but once you get it, or at least acknowledge it, it can really be an aid to your success.

  20. Noel
    Noel says:

    ok, i like your blog and what you have to say generally. but there’s one thing that i can’t wrap my head around here: throwing away books! really? it pains me. i’m sure there are thrift stores, charities, and friends-of-the-library booksales in wisconsin that would be happy to have your books. hell, i got my copy of the sleeping beauty trilogy from a thrift store in suburbia. you might open up a whole new world for a small town girl.

  21. Steve Collazo
    Steve Collazo says:

    Thank you! I’ve been needing a giggle-fix for exactly 2 weeks now and I got one today thanks to your funny blog… it was supposed to be funny, right? I’m compelled to tell to no one in particular (I’m guessing I lost 99% of your readers at “giggle-fix”} that I’m not entirely humorless. My kids make me laugh but it seems like the older I get, the more cynical I get about being able to find humor, specifically the kind of humor that sparks spontaneous laughter. Today, while reading your blog, I laughed out loud. I’ve marked my calendar with a smiley face… using a cornflower blue crayon.

  22. Linda
    Linda says:

    How fascinating that some people are so focussed on the bloody woodwork! While I roll my eyes, as I don’t mind what anyone decides to do with their home as long as it doesn’t scare the cat, I think this is another example of diversity. I sort of wish however that it didn’t have to extend to the cosmetic aspects of the lives of others – but more power to those if you for whom this is important. However, to the matter at hand, I agree that we focus too much on the more obvious aspects of difference eg skin colour, accent rather than the quite insidious ones which often cause us to stop openmouthed and often with the person we have chosen to spend our life. While I appreciate all your very rational and thoughtful points, Penelope, sometimes a good oldfashioned fight can do a lot to clear the air and help both parties get to the crux of these differences. Clearly not something I could advocate for the office – more is the pity. Some workplaces could do with less passive agressivity and a little directness.

  23. Margaret Goerig
    Margaret Goerig says:

    Cornflower blue was totally my favorite color growing up. I still make references to it, too.
    I am glad you’re back and in more ways than one. You didn’t sound crazy in that last post, because I think crazy is when you think you’re normal, but you also didn’t sound too happy. Now it makes sense why. Renovations are right up there with moving house on the Worst Things in the World list–and you’ve been doing both! May all end well for you guys.
    And I love the photo of the barn boards. The light is gorgeous coming through the slats.

  24. Mel
    Mel says:

    This post made me laugh – and think. thank you for that. I do recall my husband and I throwing shower heads at each other in the aisle of Home Depot while re-doing our 1920s bathrooms a few years ago. so I feel your pain. plus, he’s black and I’m white, so there’s your diversity point too!:)

  25. LPC
    LPC says:

    Penelope, he hugs you because he loves you. Whether or not you are on to something is extra. You do know that, Aspergers and all, right?

  26. chris Keller
    chris Keller says:

    Penelope’s mission (one of them) is to stir up controversy. How could she do that if she didn’t have a diverse readership? She has people who love cornflower blue and those who don’t. She has people who understand that you can get rid of some of your books, as well as those who cannot abide that thought. She has readers who wouldn’t dream of painting the woodwork, and those who dream of it and do it. So, Penelope, as I see it, controversy implies diversity. You are counting on controversy leading to diverse views, and then capitalizing on diversity to provide you a wide-open readership. Clever of you!

  27. Jake
    Jake says:

    Thanks for posting, I just put my last meeting on hold to read this. Amazing how much farming ties into the corporate world, but makes much more sense by keeping it simple. Glad to see you back.

  28. Jane
    Jane says:

    This post cracked me up! I renovated my kitchen while I was involved with a man who was a carpet store manager in suburban Delaware (I’m a writer/editor in Manhattan). He made several helpful suggestions during the process, but was just about done in by my agonizing over the paint color, and responded, “Who CARES what color it is? Just slap some paint on it!”

  29. Jane
    Jane says:

    Oh, yes … forgot to mention that the contractor said the kitchen would be done in a week — and it would have, if everything had gone according to plan. But the electrician bowed out (fortunately the contractor found another one the next day); the counter guy broke my sink, so we had to wait for another one (which was, of course, now out-of-stock). Then it turned out the counter guy had measured wrong, so I had to wait for additional pieces to be cut. Total time eating out: two months.

  30. Ron Vitale
    Ron Vitale says:

    Great post. It’s wonderful to see a fresh (and frank) discussion about creativity and how to balance with what one’s vision is and that of the rest of the world. Thanks for the great reading suggestions too as I’ll share them with my wife.

  31. Jen
    Jen says:

    I love everything about this post! The tone, the lessons about living with diversity, the way you intertwine your relationship to the farmer with your renovations.

    I will be starting home renovations in the next year, so thanks for these valuable insights!

  32. Heather
    Heather says:

    Love a post on your observations of small town life if you have time. Might be scary to publish though depending on how many of your neighbours read you blog. Do you have a huge trash pile of your own on the farm?

  33. sylvain
    sylvain says:

    Hi Pen,

    Love the Post, Glad you’re happy. Farming, decorating, gardening, Do you miss the city ?

    Love your wonderful blog

  34. Robin
    Robin says:

    Two weeks? Oh yes, highly realistic.

    Do yourself a favor and learn something about designing a garden. Sticking plants two feet away from each other in brown dirt isn’t a garden.

    So often PT’s projects seem half-assed and thrown together. Seize the opportunity to change that.

  35. Saifi Khan
    Saifi Khan says:

    Thought you wanted to write about “How to cope with Adversity” !

    Diversity is a very good thing and the future of the human society and economy. We must accept, nurture and encourage diversity. Think of diversity as a balanced diet for the social system.

    Saifi Khan.

  36. Jay Hepner
    Jay Hepner says:

    Love a pink bedroom. I mean, come on! Always been more periwinkle than cornflower blue though. Felt the actual color didn’t live up to the wrapper. Seriously.

    But do spend more time on the “too many books dysfunction.” It’s not about showing how smart you are, it’s about having access to the info, letting your fingers do the walking as it were.

    And throwing books away? WTF?

    I mean, really, Pen. There’s got to be a better way. Hard to imagine that. And I have an imagination.

    Then again, my place is on the cluttered side, mostly due to a plethora of media, heaviest and most predominant being the library, literally floor to ceiling.

    But in front of walls forest green, anemone pink and yes, shy periwinkle, I like me some books.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Well, I’m not actually throwing them away. In the city, you can bring them to Goodwill, or a used bookstore. In the country, you bring them to the dump, and there’s a place where people put stuff that other people might want. So I put the books there.


      • Deborah Hymes
        Deborah Hymes says:

        Or you could donate them to the local library. I’m a buyer rather than a borrower, myself, and when clearing the decks I always give the library first dibs. ;)

  37. Agnese
    Agnese says:

    How lovely to see a post here again, was missing them massively (and worrying, just a little)! And, while describing a rather frustrating situation, there is a lot of calm and happiness in this post!

  38. Marie
    Marie says:

    Hehe, will definately use “the farm fetish people in New York” in as many sentences as possible from now on.

    Back to business, I’ve just built a house in Latin America with my husband that is latin, it has been a long line of arguments and I think you are on to something here.

  39. Olivia
    Olivia says:

    God how I have missed you!!!

    Big hug coming at you beautiful.

    For those readers who were worried, “O ye, of little faith?”

    You’ll keep us in the loop should you ever be spirited away won’t you Penelope!!

    Liked your erotic literature recommendations too a couple I hadn’t come across. Will definitely check them out as I am certain your turn ons are as varied as the colours of your farmhouse.

    It’s amazing how reading erotic literature can have knock on effects in the real bedroom. I think my partner has been reading some of my sexual fantasy posts. Like the farmer, he says he doesn’t read my posts but I am noticing subtle changes- for the better ;-)

    3. Don't try to change others. See the world differently yourself.
    So true but a challenge when the same individual is unable to reciprocate.

    4. Seek out opposing views, just to practice processing them.
    I like asking many questions to someone who holds an opposing view. I actually get a kick out of really trying to put myself in the other’s position. Almost like playing a puzzle with bits of information to form a coherent picture they themselves have designed.

    Not only does it help for a deeper understanding, (not necessarily trying to find a chink in their armour- although I do like to question/ challenge points I see as weakness) but because it is hard to assume that someone who has an opposing view is a complete idiot just because they do not share your own view. They have come to their “truth” via some route. It may be from experience, one you are yet to have. Or a cultural belief to which you will never truly access.

    E.G. The use of the burka is one I still grapple with. Somedays I purposefully make eye contact with Burka clad muslim women, so that she can see that I truly care and indeed love her as a fellow human being. I suppose it is a look of kindness-yet is is more than that. It is not a sad kindness rather an acknowledgement that she is a strong woman. I purposefully do not show any pity for her or look scornfully at her- even if I have pangs of wishing she would not be covered with this robe. Then other days I feel conflicted because I want to see their faces. Body language is very important to me and I can feel cheated that so much of their body is isolated. I want them to see me as I see them.

    Gee whiz I am sorry for going on and on. I guess I just missed you much.

    P.S. Love the soiled (literally) panties actually laughed out loud. I trust that the farmer’s relief extended to a happy ending ;-)

    • sukeina
      sukeina says:

      Hi Olivia,

      Please do not feel sad for the burka clad women or any women who has chosen to cover herself in hijab…I know that it is difficult for the western society to understand that any women would want to dress modestly or cover herself up and be behind a veil and I know that it does not help that the Taliban have painted a horrid picture of Islam forcing the women of Afghanistan into their homes and veils in the name of Islam… this is not Islam. Many women find the hijab liberating and there truly is freedom and power in being an individual that does not conform to the societ at large’s notion of Women and their roles in society and how they should dress. It does not mean that we are not intelligent, educated or that we are submissive… in fact, we are strong, assertive and will speak out in public even behind our veils.

      I appreciate your honesty and the mixed emotions that you describe… I know its hard to understand a concept that is foreign to us and painted in so many ways…. Diversity.

      • Jens Fiederer
        Jens Fiederer says:

        I think if it’s the woman’s choice to wear a burka (or, if she chooses to delegate such choices, her master’s) that is fine – I’m sure with a bit of practice a woman can be just as flirty in a burka as a bikini. Pity hardly seems appropriate.

        If the woman MUST be cloaked that way, with the power of the law taking her choices away, that’s a different matter.

      • Olivia
        Olivia says:

        Hi Sukeina,

        You are very right in many ways. I completely agree with, “It does not mean that we are not intelligent, educated or that we are submissive – ” Excellent women come in all forms.

        However I think there has been a misunderstanding. And it has probably more to do with the way I write. For that I’m sorry.

        I do not feel sad for women who wear the burka or hijab. I used to when I was a teenager, (growing up in Australia, it gets bloody hot during summer).

        But coming of age I could no longer judge. Certainly not in committed religious matters. It is something I have no experience in. But something to be respected as it is valuable and meaningful to many.

        I accept that the style of dress is tied closely to one’s belief and faith. I would be less inclined to describe it as modest however. I think it is more than that. Because simply from an observational point of you, it looks more than that. It is feasible and indeed possible that you can dress modestly without such an extreme use of cloth. However I obviously appreciate the sentiment behind wearing it.

        What I sometimes grapple with is my frustration of not being able to see their face in a Burka. For me and I am sure for many cultures, body language is very important. I feel no conflict inside whatsoever, seeing women in Hijabs.

        For me, sometimes women wearing burkas makes me feel alienated from them. I can not communicate with her face. There is an actual barrier that prevents me from truly seeing/ understanding her, (until we engage in dialogue and even then it takes longer because I can not access body language).

        I don’t like feeling alienated from another human, or any kind of alienation to be honest. However I notice I do not feel the same with people from different races, ages, sexualities, religions, people with disabilities…

        My issue I know is rooted with covering the face. Part of the reason I smile at women in Burkas is to bridge this gap. A selfish one I suppose, as I feel more connected when the women reciprocate. But also so they know, that I know, that they are in there.

        While a smile is only a small gesture, I hope that they see that they are a part of a sisterhood that is far reaching and importantly inviting. I don’t want them to feel alienated from me.

        I know at the end of the day I have to love my sisters, no matter what they wear. It’s just something I grapple with from time to time.

  40. fd
    fd says:

    love the colours and agree that painted wood is lovely.

    but bringing books to the dump?! is that really your only option? this whole post jarred in my head after i read that.

  41. Lew
    Lew says:

    For heaven’s sake, one never throws away books!
    Sell them, donate them, recycle them if you must, but never just throw them away.
    What a shocking waste.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Three comments in a row about bringing books to the dump! Please see my comment above. This is a great example of the cultural gap between the country and the city. You hear dump and you think I’m throwing them out. But actually, in a rural community, the dump is a good place to share things with the community because it’s one of the places all the farm families have to go.

      This is a good example of how the farmer and I have to bridge a cultural gap all the time. Of course it is not intuitive to me to bring books to a dump. And of course I would have the same reaction you did about where to bring books. Stuff like this happens with me and the farmer every single day.


    • Jens Fiederer
      Jens Fiederer says:

      I threw away about 200 pounds of books last week.

      Trust me, you aren’t doing a library any favors by giving them books on how to maintain Windows 3.1 system or how to wire RS-232 connections – or books on strategy hints for games nobody has played for a decade.

      The best you can do with those is recycle.

  42. Martin L. Shoemaker
    Martin L. Shoemaker says:

    I hate to jump on the “how can you throw books away” bandwagon; but this part really puzzled me:

    “But I am able to throw out a book if I no longer remember anything about it.”

    No, no, no! If I can’t remember anything about it, then for all intents and purposes, it’s a NEW book! One I didn’t even have to go buy, just stumble upon in my own library.

    (Full disclosure: other than out-of-date tech manuals, I don’t think I’ve ever thrown out a book.)

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