Monday, May 02, 2011

The Cleansing

I'm ruthlessly purging my book collection. It's painful, like attending a funeral. Some of these books have been in my library for a very long time; some were gifts; some have been read so much that the spine is broken and falling off.

I have to honestly ask myself, though, "Are you going to read this again, and if so, can you find it at a library? Will it soon be available for free on Kindle, or is it already?" (i.e. Jane Eyre and my Complete Sherlock Holmes).

My fear is that I'll get rid of some books that will soon be unavailable in the libraries through lack of use by the fickle public. I'm keeping all my Mary Stewart books because I know our little library here recently sold all of her books on their bargain rack, meaning they probably aren't going to be re-printed anytime soon. I'm also keeping Dorothy Sayers. I just can't send poor Lord Peter to the scrap heap. We've been good friends for far too long.

However, I am letting go of the following authors: Alistair MacLean, M.M Kaye, Rex Stout, Helen MacInnes, Ngaio Marsh, John Le Carre, Ellis Peters and Agatha Christie. Oh, and I'm only going to keep about half of the Terry Pratchett books. You have to understand that I owned every book by most of these authors, and they were very prolific. Yes, it takes up a lot of room. That's sort of the point.

Will I be hating myself tomorrow? Will this be a release or a regret? I don't know. The garage sale is Saturday, so I have time to recover treasures if I decide that I just can't do it.

To paraphrase the ubiquitous plaque: God grant me the courage to purge the books that I should, the serenity to keep the books that I ought, and the wisdom to know the difference.


aftergrace said...

This is quite the quandry. I know you and I share the same attachment to our books so I'm probably not a good one to give advice...but if I were you I would make three stacks. one-the books I will read over and over. two-the so--so books, and three the ones that didn't really grab you at the first chapter.

SunnyBrook said...

I'm wondering whether those will even sell in a small town garage sale. The Pratchett would sell well on eBay, I'll bet. I would offer to take books off your hands, but my hubby might kill me. ;)

Carina said...

We have a new solution. Mom's going to take them out to the cabin for vacation time reading. Then if the grief is too much I can always go back and recover them. Mommies think of everything.

Chandelle said...

Love your mom's solution!

The desire to rewrite never returned.

JAM said...

Mom comes up with the "best of both worlds solution." They're out of your house and yet available. I think that's why storage units are popping up everywhere.

We throw away a bunch every few years. Otherwise by now we'd have been on one of the Hoarder's shows. I cannot get rid of Dick Francis mysteries or my Jack McDevitt sci fi.

JAM said...

My word verification for the above comment was "wiffess." Looks like the olde English version of wives.

Well, I thought it was cool anyway.

Lilibeth said...

Oddly enough all those paperbacks fit in a small, three shelf hall case...albeit double stacked. It's like a treasure chest. I can't bear to get rid of books because what will happen one day if we all lose our internet and electricity?