Getting Rid of Books

Exhale…

At least two of you gasped that I would write a blog post with that title. Admit it. Especially if you’ve ever seen an apartment I’ve lived in or you’ve been to the Incredibly-Patient-Mother’s house. I think I’ve gotten about 80% of the books that are mine that were living at her house out–but I know there’s at least one more bookshelf I have to tackle. Maybe this Christmas? (What am I saying? Now she’s going to be anticipating it….)

I usually weed when I move. Clothes, books, everything got evaluated when packed 0r–more likely–unpacked. It helps when you move at least once a year, which I did for a full decade. But this year it does appear I’ll make my new years resolution for 2008: Not to move for a calendar year. It may sound kind of frivolous or not really a resolution but it meant I wasn’t hauling all of my belongings out of my current dwelling. It meant I did things like switch from/to summer/winter wardrobes without packing to move. Not having to wonder where I packed my toothpaste for 12 months has been a pleasant change.

It also meant that the Incredibly-Patient-Mother could suggest ever so gently that I start getting all of my books out of her house. Considering many of those books had been languishing in boxes for the better part of a decade, I suppose this was a reasonable request. And I was surprised how many of the books I was able to easily part with. When they’ve lived in a box for five+ years, you’ve forgotten you had them and the connection to them has lessened. So I could prune much of that collection.

Getting rid of books that have lived on the shelves more recently? That I’ve repeatedly un-boxed and shelved? That’s harder. Not bringing home more books from trips to bookstores and library book sales? Nearly impossible. But I’m trying.

The short fluffy romances that I read in alternative to sitting through RoCos or television go into two boxes which get cleaned out every couple of months and sent either to the mother or friend. Everything else kinda sits around, waiting to be assigned a correct shelf spot. Or they’ve been assigned a shelf space (based on incredibly deep thoughts this last move of “this will go here”) and are now just languishing.

And books aren’t meant to languish. They need good homes and ideally someone else who’ll read them to falling apart or at least enjoy them and pass them on. So I’m trying. I’ve put 40+ books on Paperback Swap and have actually gotten about fifteen out the door. Pay no attention to the fact I’ve then grabbed copies of the few Cat Who books I don’t already own in paperback so I can get a complete set. At least those I will read until they die. Even if her writing has gotten lousy. The ones that aren’t moving out the door in a timely fashion are going to go somewhere. Where I’ve not figured out just yet, though the Talking Books Librarian mentioned Cash4Books a couple of days ago and I might look into that for a few of those weeds. I can’t imagine they’ll want much of what I’ve got though. I could drag them back to work and give them to the Friends group, which I’ve done with other books I’ve weeded and probably will do with some. Most fiction has a shelf life…

It’s hard to get rid of books though. And little apartment dwellers like me don’t get to have yard sales. So if anyone wants 5 of the six books from the Dragon Prince/Dragon Star series by Melanie Rawn, let me know. They’ve been read once, maybe twice but I doubt it. I’m missing book 1–it got loaned apparently and never found its way home. And since it’s been two moves since I remember seeing it, I’m guessing it’s somewhere in New York. Also…for some reason I’ve started grabbing every vintage Gertrude Chandler Warner that comes across my desk. I have to think about whether or not I really need hard cover copies of all 22 of the original Boxcar Children books. Even if I think some of them might be first editions.