Monday, March 23, 2015

Paring Down the Books?

Last month I was listening to a podcast of The Readers, and Simon asked if you have a fire that destroyed all your books (but everything else was fine), what would be the first books you'd replace. And as I heard this question and I momentarily imagined my own personal mini house fire (and yet oddly in every room of the house), I felt the weirdest feeling--relief. What? I thought I'd be horrified, depressed, angry, etc. But nope, I felt immediate, palpable relief.

I could start over. I could not buy quite so many books that I was unlikely to ever get around to. I wouldn't feel so burdened by the promise of so many books that I once thought I'd enjoy. I wouldn't feel like I really shouldn't buy any more or check out another book since I have so many already (over 500 books in my house that I haven't read.)

Yeah, sure, I'd replace a few: My Book House Books set, the Little House on the Prairie books, but that might be the only ones. I've never been big on hanging onto books I've read (and this would finally get rid of my Norton Anthologies from college that I feel too guilty to get rid of, and that the used bookstore doesn't want anyhow.)

There's a very popular book out right now called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō. I'm very tempted by it, but/especially as she calls for massive purges. None of this little "get rid of five things every week" bull. If my feeling would be relief, then why can't I get rid of the books? Why can't I at least get rid of the unread books I've had for longer than 10 years? Why do they have such hold on me? Maybe I can break away. I'm thinking about it, which is the first step....

Stay tuned.

4 comments:

Kay said...

Deep breaths. You can do it. You just have to give yourself permission to do it. I did this a couple of years ago and feel ever so much better. And there are people who would like to have your books, Nortons and all. Of course, I am sort of a minimalist (I didn't even know I was one until the name came out). I don't really have a hard time letting go of "things". Even books. I have 4 shelves of "best loved" books, mostly from my childhood or teen years. And I have 3-1/2 shelves of not read books. Those will hopefully get read at some point and passed along to my book group or someone. And that's it. Sigh. It was very freeing. Good luck! LOL

Carin Siegfried said...

But 95% of these (not the Nortons!) are books I haven't read yet, which is what makes it so hard to let them go.

Kay Brady said...

I have no trouble letting books go once I have read them I have only held on to a few faves but even they go down every now and them.
I always buy books so I do have lots getting my own place was a good but bad idea when it comes to books now I have more space for more books 😁

Jeane said...

years ago I moved across the country and had to leave a big piece of my library behind- we simply didn't have space to take them all. It was hard- first I cut out all the ones that weren't absolute favorites, then I culled out all the ones I knew I could find again. Eventually I've been replacing those again, but not in so great numbers as before...