I am tossed on the horns of a dilemma. Sitting here, at my desk, looking at two shelves full of books. Not just shelves – full bookshelf units. six foot by three foot, and full of volumes. To my left, my husband’s Louis L’Amour shelf (paperbacks, some of the leatherbounds, and maybe a shelf of other books). To my right is my art bookself, although admittedly the bottom two shelves are sketchbooks of mine, and camera kit.
This is just what’s in the bedroom/office suite. There’s a full bookshelf of cookbooks in the kitchen. The family area has, um, several bookshelves (I’m not walking in there to count shelf footage right now). There’s a bookshelf in the kid’s room, and one in the guest room.
The dilemma isn’t: do I need more shelves? No, it’s… do I purge the books now, or wait until it’s confirmed we’ll be moving? Because there are scenarios where we don’t move, we sit tight here until the kid has his degree and diploma (a simultaneous event) and has moved out. In those cases, I will be sad and sorry if I cut my library to the bone, again.
On the other hand, there are scenarios where I leave home, do not pass go, and the First Reader is OIC of packing and moving, before joining me. If I haven’t done something about the clutter, it’s liable to wind up all packed and brought to me with him. Anyone have any idea how much it costs to pack an entire house into a large truck and move it willy-nilly? Me neither, and I think more than I want to spend. Especially with these many books.
On the gripping hand, I probably do have a book or three here I don’t need. I’m looking at the art book shelf and thinking I should sell the Schlock box set (I have through book ten) since I stopped reading and buying that webcomic when the creator started arguing against basic human rights. I’ve got a stack on the armchair next to me that are duplicates we sorted out when putting the fiction back in order not long ago, and I have been meaning to offer to friends on social media (send me a couple of bucks for shipping, get a book you don’t have, sort of thing).
It’s a complex thing, and I don’t know yet what I’m going to do. Wait a week, probably. Maybe more than that. If things get into a hurry, well, I’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I don’t have any offers on the table just yet. Besides which, I also have other balls to keep in the air to carry on with this juggling act, in the three-ring circus that is my life.
Most of what I have, and want to keep, in paper are reference books. Reading fiction happens with ebooks. For that matter, a lot of non-fiction happens that way, too. Like the Jordan Peterson book I’m working through, Beyond Order. Which is good, by the way… but that’s a blog post for my personal blog.
I’ve weeded an entire library. Which, despite those not being my personal books, was still painful. Also, fascinating task. The criteria for weeds was fairly straightforward: popular books that had been loved to pieces were weeded, but replaced. Books which had not been checked out in ten years (a manual check, since the library did not have a full electronic system at the time) were discarded. Although I saved a few antiques to add to the historical book room we had. Weeding my personal library? Fraught with difficult decisions. That book on… hm, ok. Maybe I don’t need to keep A History of Aerial Photography and Archaeology. Or maybe I do, for research of some historical thriller involving an ancient haunted somethingorother and the daring fliers who found it… Ahem. See? This is hard!
I’ll leave you with this, then! I was a guest on a lovely podcast, which was a ton of fun. There were a few other authors who were on, too, so you may want to explore the Business Talk Sister Gawk site for their other episodes. If, like me, you use a podcatcher app, their podcast is available on all the major platforms. Also, if you don’t want to listen, there’s a full transcript of the interview here.
(header image: photo by Cedar Sanderson. Not my copy – this was taken in Peter Grant’s library)