Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Musing

Do you keep all the books you ever buy? Just the ones you love? Just collectibles? What do you do with the ones you don’t want to keep?

I wish. I really do.

I actually remember when I did keep every book I could get my hands on, but those days are long gone. Still, despite long ago running out of room to properly house all my books, I continue to invite at least ten new ones through my front door each and every month. The problem is that only two or three leave by that same door during any given month.

We have been in this home for ten years now and this is the first place I was able to add some built-in bookshelves to the floor plan before we moved in. I am able to keep about 800 books on the shelves and I have space to hide another 350 or 400 books on shelves I've added to a few spare closets. That's a lot of books, I admit. But I'm to the breaking point again and I really need to cull about 200 books via hospital donations, sales to used book stores, and the like so that I can buy myself a few more months' worth of new book space.

My "keepers" are a combination of the modern first editions I collect, a few sentimental favorites I have had for decades, books on Civil War and country music history, several complete runs of my favorite detective series (James Lee Burke, Elizabeth George, John Harvey, etc.), almost 100 books from the pen of Joyce Carol Oates, a bunch of Dickens published in the 1800s, a small collection of Modern Library editions from the 1940s and 1950s, over 100 uncorrected proofs, plus a lot of miscellaneous "stuff."

This is going to be a challenge - but all that potential free space is big enough a payoff to keep me motivated. I hope.

Thanks to Musing Mondays for the question.


  1. I keep only a few (as I cannot afford everything I read and have moved so many times): my very very favorites, like "A Wrinkle in Time," books written by friends (Jeff Abbott, who writes thrillers, and Jon Burnett, who wrote a book about flash floods in Texas), and cookbooks, which I read for fun and also use because food is my main hobby.

    Someday I hope to see my own up on my shelf.

  2. Having just moved, I've pulled all my books from storage and finally have them all under the same roof for the first time, and there are over 1,000 of them. The bad news is I'm daggone close to having to get rid of some. I have no clue how I'm going to do it.

  3. I guess I dont feel much ties to my books. Oh yes, I love them, UNTIL I read them.. and then they need to go bye bye.. so I can get more and more books. I'd rather see a new book(or used) on my shelf.. than see a book I've read before on the shelf.
    (I will say that I have all the Little House books on my shelf. And those I will never sell or give away.)
    Other than that, Paperbackswap is my friend!

  4. Having just moved, I've pared my books down again. I give away a lot of them every year anyway, donating to the library and retirement homes. That still leaves me with more books than space!

  5. I hear you Gold Digger - in one sense, it always comes down to money...for more shelving, editions worth keeping forever, or money to buy more suitable space to keep a home library. And, these days, who has spare cash?

    Hey, maybe one day I'll have one of yours on my shelves, too.

  6. Annie, saying you'll get rid of books is easier said than done...learning the hard way right now. I'm starting to stack up the ones I want to move out of the house but I find myself having second thoughts about some of them the longer I keep them around.

    Good luck.

  7. Kayo, I sort of envy your attitude about would be so much simpler that way. I'm a born pack rat, so I have other massive collections of stuff like CDs, DVDs...even a collection of important newspaper headlines that goes back to the early '70s. Don't get my wife started...

  8. Jenclair, I really like the idea of giving to retirement/assisted living homes. We have several of those within 10 miles of my house...need to pay them a visit to see if they are interested.

    Thanks for the idea.