Friday, July 6, 2012

Give All the Books Away!

After I read a book, I give it away. Every time, without fail. Okay, there are some exceptions (Anne Taylor, Tom Franklin, Jill McCorkle) but 99.8% of books I read, I give away. And I know many bookish people are currently having heart attacks, but I stand by this.

Being in the book business, I get a lot of books. I have already given away hundreds of books that I never even read. Yes, once or twice in a blue moon I have wished for a book back after I got rid of it, but it's so seldom that I don't worry about it. I have rebought books once or twice - for other people. But I need to keep the books in my house rotating in AND out! Otherwise, there wouldn't be any room for more new books, which would be terrible!

I know people (I'm looking at you BookNAround) who have 10,000 books in their house, but without an entire full, finished basement to fill to the brim, nor the cash for all the built-in bookcases, that's just not an option. Plus, I have a longstanding fear of dying in an avalanche of my own creation! 

At first I would collect stacks of my books for different friends and occasionally go to the trouble of packing them up and shipping them, but not only is that a lot of trouble, but some of my friends started to feel a little inundated after the fourth of fifth box.

Sometimes I had books I didn't want to pass along. Some were gifts that weren't my style, some were just sucky, and for some I just didn't have the right person. I don't often sell books to used bookstores, but occasionally I have. More often I have donated books at places like Julia's Cafe, the bookstore at the Habitat Restore, or brought them to our WNBA book swaps (leftover books are donated).

I did start keeping my book list at the same time I started giving books away. I keep my books in my mind (and thankfully now also at Goodreads.) But I really feel strongly about giving the books away. I want them to find good homes, but I want that to be somewhere else. That way I can keep bringing books in, without looking like I belong on an episode of Hoarders!


Ellie said...

This is definitely one of my STRENGTHS as a book maniac - I may be horrendously bad at bringing too many INTO the house, but I'm pretty good at getting them back OUT again once I've read them. Even the most awesomely brilliant book tends to get maybe 2 weeks post-reading to sit on my shelf and stew, and if it's not singing to me after that time, out it goes. This means I have a small collection of 'must-keeps' - not always the best of the best books, but ones that make me feel happy and have good re-read value - and the rest can be happily released into the wilderness (or our bookshop, as it's better known). I'm quite lucky I suppose - if I wasn't happy to do this I'd probably have died under toppling heap of paperbacks long ago!

Booksnyc said...

I do this too and am still drowning in books! My friends and family have come to rely on me to provide them with a "curated for them" collection of books!