First instinct is to grab…
Rodger’s International Thesaurus
Pluses: It’s big. It will get the job done and most likely on the first hit.
Minuses: It was a gift and I use it a lot. I don’t really want dead bug parts on my reference materials.
The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss
Pluses: It’s close, I can grab it right now, and thus begin the kill.
Minuses: Kind of flimsy so it might take a few hits. Also, I love this book. I cannot kill with it.
The Waves, by Virginia Woolf
Ha, ya right.
Notes from Underground, by Fyodor Dosoevsky
Pluses: It’s close, the cover is already kind of messy, and a dead spider with its dead spider guts might actually go with the art.
Minuses: It’s thin and I really don’t think it could get the job done. I’ll probably have to hit the spider multiple times and then it will scamper away behind my desk and every time I sit down to write I’ll be wondering it it’s there, just behind my stack of books, or maybe somewhere by my feet, waiting to come out and kill me. Also, I might just hit it and smash it up a little bit without actually killing it, in which case it might suffer. I need a fast kill. BAM! One hit. I am a sick woman… I am a wicked woman. I will kill a spider instead of putting a cup on it and carrying it outside but I don’t think the spider should suffer. I’m not THAT bad.
looking more quickly now…
Maskerade, by Terry Pratchett
Pluses: It’s a paperback so it’s thick but not really that beautiful or precious as far as book aesthetics go. Also, it’s close.
Minuses: It’s too close. In the process of grabbing the book my hand will be too close to the spider’s weird spider-jowls and I might get bit. Also, I borrowed it from a friend. You can’t kill spiders with books you have borrowed. Imagine returning the book to your friend with a dead bug on it. No. It simply isn’t done.
looking to other shelves within grabbing distance…
The Longman Anthology of British Literature
All that Romantic poetry… No. I’m sorry but I just can’t kill a spider with Keats.
looking up to the top shelves…
Too small. I like that issue. And I don’t think the spider would come off easily.
Superbad, by Ben Greenman
I can’t. The cover is too pretty and the spider would probably stain it.
The Wasteland, Prufrock, and Other Observations, by T.S. Eliot
Pluses: It’s hardback but small. The spider has moved to an odd position between my windowsill and my collection of short short stories in a box and it will be hard to get to it with a larger book now.
Minuses: The cover is glossy and thus will be slippery. It’s poetry. It might be hard to get to the spider from the right angle without the freedom a paperback allows.
The Elements of Style, by Struck and White
Perfect! I own two copies and even though it’s thin I think I can get a good slap in before the spider disappears.
Conclusion: The spider is dead. The guts have been disposed of in the trashcan. The book has been returned unharmed, unspoiled, and quite triumphant to it’s proper spot between The History of Love and McSweeney’s 27. No books were ruined during the killing of this spider.
Obviously, the spider is no more. But, you know, that’s life. Sorry little guy.