Friday, March 04, 2005


The Why and How of Waving Goodbye To Books

I have a lot of books.

Many of them I've read. A good number of them are waiting their turn in the queue, and at this rate, would be up in, oh 2007.

I decided to go through them--at least my fiction--and pass some on. I wanted to see what it would be like to have shelves that weren't double stacked with books, that had space and lightness to them. I'm not nearly there, but 10 bags of books later, it's getting better.

I sold a bunch of books to the used bookstores in town, getting around $200 so far, which will buy me some new treasures when I so desire. I passed some on to friends and strangers who wanted them. I took some to Goodwill. Bascially, I got them the heck off of my shelves and into the hands of people who will enjoy them.

It was hard to let go of my mystery collections, but I can always go visit them at the library, if I suddenly have a strong desire to spell my name with Sue Grafton titles (she's the mystery writer who pens A is for Alibi and so forth down through the alphabet).

I let some unread books go, but am keeping others, ones I don't know that I'll like as much as the mystery collections and other tomes I've passed on. (Sounds like they are dead, doesn't it? Oh, the Amanda Cross series (lowers voice)...That, uhm, "passed on" a few weeks ago.) I end up agonizing, thinking "why am I getting rid of stuff I *know* I like, and keeping things that may be less entertaining or valuable?" Of course, if I find the ones I've kept boring, they will go directly into the bye-bye bag. But nevertheless, I take myself through mental gymnastics over these decisions.

And what to do with the unread books? I want to see shelf space, and so I might box them up or put them in a "to read" crate or two, so that they are all together. Or I might dedicate a shelf or two to them. I usually organize my books by genre (Outdoors, Mystery, SF, Non-Fiction, General Fiction etc) but I could have a "to read" shelf as well.

It was a stretch to let this stuff go, but I didn't keel over from it. It's good to sometimes do things that are a bit outside your comfort range. Sorting took some time--they were all pretty organized on the shelves but I took them off, dusted and decided what to keep. My living room is still a jumble of books (or rather the displaced and "to read" piles are all on the coffee table), but at least things are moving.

I am not ready to tackle my academic books yet, and that's okay because I still have more fiction to go through before I do. Perhaps once I've done the fiction, I'll be better prepared emotionally for the PhD books.

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