Coming to my house, people inevitably say “Wow, you have a lot of books!” or “You must love reading!” (which just amuses me to death because when am I NOT talking about books?). I have four bookshelves in the living room, one in the kitchen, two in each kids bedroom, and a huge one in the master bedroom. They are all overflowing with books. Books fall off at the least provocation. It really is likely that we have to many.
The problem lies in disposing of them. For the most part, I don’t buy books unless I know I’m going to love them and so how do I get rid of books that I love? How does anyone do this? I’m really asking this as a question, people. I want to know: how do YOU get rid of books?
Here’s the thing: I have a couple bags of books I was willing to let go of. Most of them are Nick’s or the boys or things we purchased to meet some end, like Puppy Training or Tiger Cub Scouts guidebooks. But MY books? I just can’t get rid of them.
I tried just tossing a few into the bag without thinking much of it. I let them sit there and then I looked at the holes on the shelves and the empty spot looked sadly back at me and I took the books out of the bags and put them back.
These aren’t inanimate objects. There are whole lives in these things. Lives of the characters, places I’ve been in my mind, events I’ve lived through. And not just things and people and places and events that are written about. Re-reading these books reminds me of where I was the last time I read them. People that interrupted my reading, events that took place while I was reading, places that I holed up in a corner and read in.
That’s why I’m having a hard time letting go. This is not just a hardcover copy of “Rebuilding Coventry” in my hand. It’s the story of how I read “Rebuilding Coventry” as a book borrowed from a beloved friend, returned it to her slightly unwillingly because it was so very funny, purchased after much searching by myself in various and sundry stores all over Texas, and then finally re-read during a really hard time where I thought I might just be going crazy after all and this book helped me hold it together. (Books help me hold it together A LOT.)
So I’m re-reading some of the books, trying to remember why I’m holding on to them so tightly, trying to say good-bye to some dearly loved “friends” that I’ve spent years looking at on my shelves.
And I can’t get rid of them all. I’m not trying to, I’m just trying to get it back to manageability. Trying to make space in my tiny, tiny house for other things that are important to us, like all our musical instruments (four musicians times at least two instruments apiece), and our Lego and craft creations, and our collection of things we’ve brought back from places we’ve visited and loved. These are all important, too.
Anyway, that is what is going on this end-of-the-week at my house. I’m wandering around, staring at the bookshelves, and dipping into books here and there. I’m reading and crying and reading some more. I’ve even put a few more books into the bag…