Monday, March 26, 2007


Emma and I live in a house of many bits and pieces but the day of reckoning is upon us! A couple of weeks ago we bought our first house and now we must pick up (at least once) every single thing we have and pack it away.
I like to think that the older I get, the less I accumulate but yesterday, when I started packing the first of many, many boxes of books, I realised that I just don't have to keep them all.
This is a bit of a revelation for me - I've always had a lot of books, even when I was a kid. My bed had a little built in bookshelf with a night light in the corner and it was always full of books; my favourite titles or whatever I was reading at the time.
Now Em and I have eight bookcases, all full, with books stacked on top of books, squeezed into together.
But yesterday, as I picked up each book...I really scrutinised it and made myself explain (to myself) why I needed this book in my life. After a couple of hours, the KEEP stack was still higher than the OUT stack, but not by much. Yes, I did go back later and pick out a few titles from the OUT stack and put them in the KEEP stack, but not all books are created equal. Some I books I don't even remember (bibliophiles amnesia) buying let alone reading, some books I'd picked up second hand and couldn't say no because they were cheap or because I can't seem to not buy a copy of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier...even though I have three....and how did I end up with four copies of Jane Eyre? Three copies of To Kill A Mockingbird? Two copies of Emma? Three copies of Written on the Body? I think I know why. Some books are like sad, little orphans and I couldn't leave them all alone with Harry's Guide to Truck Maintenance or Electronics for Beginners.
Usually I feel a bit anxious when I let a book go. I'm not quite sure how to express the criteria, but this time round, I'm determined to only keep those books that I would go out and spend money on to replace.
Moving into a new house (in the spring) is like a new chapter and I suppose it feels like this is my chance to shake off a few habits and do things differently... kind of liberating, too.
The books will find a new home, a new reader, new hands to hold them...now to my egg cup collection...

5 comments:

nicole said...

Hey Hey!!
Congrats to you and Lovely Em!
nx

June said...

I love books and one of my favorite expressions is: books are my friends. It is indeed hard to let them go and I, too, feel anxious when I have to release a friend into the wild, so to speak. I have so many books that I really need a way of getting my book habit under control. So far, my only solution is establishing a rule for myself at the beginning of 2007. I would not buy any books or magazines (I'm speaking of crafting now) unless I make at least 3 things from ideas in the book. It could be 3 of the same idea or 3 different ideas but I must do it. This forces me to be mindful of what I'm buying so I don't have to feel sad or wasteful when a book or magazine goes "unloved."

weirdbunny said...

It astounds me how we also can have numerous copies of a particular book. Insane or what. A recently got rid of a lot of books, especially ones I knew that I could get out of the library if I really did miss them.

limegreenspyda said...

who's got their paws on To Kill A Mockingbird, have you decided?

there's going to be a craftmarket 2 weekends from now, magnolia square. will you be going? :)

theresa said...

Congrats on the new home! I have the same problem with a couple of titles--Gone With the Wind, and a Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Just a couple of copies of each because well--they are just different.

Some Books I've Really Enjoyed

  • Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion
  • The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath
  • Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
  • Stasiland by Anna Funder

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Living, reading, crafting, taking photos, writing.