If you are what you read, Rep. Howard C. Nielson, R-Utah, is full of love for numbers, Australia and foreign affairs.
But he isn't exactly excited about Armenian needlelace, Ron Hubbard singing on records and "kiss and tell" books by former aides to Ronald Reagan.Nielson demonstrated that recently as he cleaned out his office looking for books to donate to the West Jordan Branch of the Salt Lake County Library.
Because the West Jordan library named a corner bookshelf after him, every two years Nielson boxes up all the books that he has received but no longer wants and sends them to the library.
"I get a lot of books sent to me from groups on all sides of different topics. I speed read, but I still can't find the time to keep up with them all," Nielson said.
The first book in the box was "Armenian Needlelace and Embroidery." Nielson said, "That doesn't look too interesting. But it has a lot of pictures. Maybe some kids will enjoy that."
Next, Nielson - a former statistics professor - fondly looked at numerous books on the deficit and budgeting. He hesitated as if he might want to keep them around like old friends but said they could be important resource books in West Jordan.
He had no such hesitation over getting rid of another book - "The Triumph of Politics" by former Reagan budget chief David Stockman, who criticized Reagan for not knowing what was going on.
Nielson, a staunch Reagan supporter, said curtly, "It's not too good."
Next he came to some books about Australia. He didn't even consider giving them away for a second, placing them safely behind his desk. "I love Australia. I'd like to go there on a mission someday."
Other books on foreign affairs - most of which dealt with the Israel-Palestine conflict - were reluctantly put into the boxes. "Some favor one side, some the other. But together they give a good idea of what's going on."
He then rather quickly put in the box, "The Best Congress That Money Can Buy." "That book is highly critical of the way we operate here. But it's probably accurate."
As he finished packing the four boxes of books headed for West Jordan, his press secretary asked him if he wanted to keep an unopened rec-ord of songs by Ron Hubbard. Nielson glared, then simply crammed it in the top of one of the boxes. "It fits," he said, smiling.