A horror that every bibliophile must eventually face


It happens every year at this time:

Whaddya want for Christmas?”

I don’t know. What do you want?”

I don’t know.”

Such a First World problem. We have so much crap that I cannot imagine packing any more of it in. We have junk galore. We have garage shelves filled with the detritus of human existence of a few years running.

We accumulate so much and I think of the Berbers who travel from oasis to oasis possessing only the stuff that will give them a place to sleep and a means of cooking a meal. No big screen TV, no computer, no CD collection, and no booksulysses.

Of having an accumulation of stuff, the one that hit me hardest the other day was books. So, so, many books. Our living/dining room is dominated by four large bookcases. Both bedrooms and the home office have further bookshelves. And the garage contains the bookshelf ‘overflow]; the 2nd string volumes that have been deemed not worthy enough to be in the main living part of the house and have thusly been exiled to living with the cars. What I am saying is, and I hate to go there in my mind, is that just possibly we have too many books.

How can that be? My grandfather had an actual library in his house. And now many of those volumes reside in my house. My maternal great-grandfather was an antiquarian book collector. I have some of his, too. My house is a repository for the tomes of others who long ago outlived their tenure on earth.

I perused the shelves. I saw titles I had read once, and some, I confess, that I have not read at all. Will I read them now, likely not. Some books are like Joyce’s Ulysses. People profess to have read it but at most they have only read the dirty parts, the rest of it doesn’t warrant the time, considering how many years we get on the planet. Much as nobody in their right mind ever bothers with Proust, or War and Peace.reading_wedding_color

That being said, or at least thought about, I could only conclude the time has come for us to be rid of some – or a lot of them. I mean, we might downsize our residence at some point. Am I going to car them all with me? I really don’t think I wish to. So, as it is, sokme will have to go.

Which ones? I haven’t decided that yet. Anymore than I have decided what I want for Christmas. But, and I hate to say it, no books, please.


8 responses to “A horror that every bibliophile must eventually face

  1. Marc and I took care of the gift thing by stopping with the gifts already. We have everything we need and then some. We do the gift thing whenever, during the year, we happen upon something that is just the perfect thing. And it gets rid of the gift pressure and buying something just because we need to get a Christmas/annivesary/birthday gift. I mean, really, we’re not children anymore…
    As for books. Ah, the books. I think one of the best things I ever did was get a Kindle. Love the portability. And reading on it I realized, I didn’t much care about the support, for me it’s all about the story. When I last moved I got rid of probably 80% of my books (all those I had read and would never read again, all those I hadn’t read, but realized I would never read). Whenever friends came over they could have their pick, I donated tons, sold some to a used bookstore and only kept those I really really wanted to read or love, which brought me down to only a couple of hundred books. And then I discovered graphic novels. Thankfully, I’m not quite out of control yet… Oy.

  2. I thought for sure this post would end with you saying that you would like more books or even bookshelves and then boom, ‘No books, please’. I have less than 100 books. Is that considered a lot? I don’t think so. Like you, some I’ve read and some I haven’t, and likely won’t but can’t bring myself to toss them unless they are beyond repair.

  3. I was gifted a Kindle last year and enjoy the freedom of reading without having to store. When I miss the heft of a book and the smell of its pages, a library book suffices. I have rid myself of 90 percent of my books, keeping gifted books and reference books or those that are newer that I can pass on once read.

    • I like your approach. I’ll certainly keep the gifted and the author autographed. I don’t know if I want a Kindle, however. A real book lets me escape from tech for a while.

  4. No,I cannot part with a book.
    We are building a new house partly to house them.

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