Owning a Kindle helps a great deal now, but I still have too damn many paper-and-ink books.

I long for the days when I was single and could get away with throwing bedsheets over stacks of books in my apartment, creating unique pieces of furniture.

But too little space means that an occasional “weeding out” is necessary. Choices must be made. What books must I absolutely keep?

Well, five immediately come to mind…

Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, by Dr. Seuss

Any book by the good doctor was very big in my home when I was a kid, but this one about poor Thidwick, whose enormous antlers serve as perches for ungrateful woodland creatures, was the best. I probably read it a hundred times before I was 10. When I turned 15, its political relevance smacked me up the side of the head. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s still not too late.

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

Decades ago, a single copy made the rounds at my junior high until every boy in eighth grade had read it. “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” Every few years, I miss Holden Caulfield enough to read Salinger again.

The Amazing Spider-Man #1-38

OK, they’re comic books, but damn it, these first 38 issues from 1962 to 1966, written by Stan Lee and drawn by the great Steve Ditko, aren’t just comic books, they’re the greatest friggin’ comics of all time, for crying out loud. I sold my originals for a tidy sum a few years ago, but I still have the hardcover Marvel Masterworks reprints to fall back on. And if I were stuck on a desert island, I’d want the classic issues #31-33 with me at all times. So there.

Radical Libertarianism: A Right Wing Alternative, by Jerome Tuccille

My folks bought this for me in 1970. Forty-five years later, I’ve still got that hardcover copy, now beat up but still with its faded dust jacket. The jacket says the book cost five bucks. Holy shit. Anyway, at slightly more than 100 pages, Tuccille’s first book is still a pretty good primer on libertarianism. And it’s the first book I ever owned that had the word “libertarian” in it. It’s out of print, so I’ll just hold onto this copy, thank you.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I may own a dozen or more editions of these four novels and 56 short stories. Some in hardcover, some paperback. Some annotated, some illustrated. My dad introduced me to Holmes when I was seven or eight, and I still reread at least one story a month. There’s comfort in these tales. Another must-have for that desert island, although I could probably get by with fewer editions.