Again With The Books

April 23, 2008

Last Sunday I did the same thing I did the previous Sunday – took my book inventory to a diner and examined it over eggs and browns. A busy diner is not a distraction-free environment, but at least it’s better than the place where I have to work on sorting my stuff. Quieter, no internet surfing temptation, not physically surrounded by the stuff I’m trying to make decisions about.

The main problem I have with letting go of books is a desire to finish reading a book before discarding it. I don’t read much, only a couple of books a year. Most of the books in my collection were bought intending to read them but never found the time. Quite a few were started but not finished. To overcome this I should re-examine the (decades old) desire to read something in light of present circumstances. Or just numb myself to block the feeling and toss it anyway. Don’t let past interests get in the way of future endeavors. I am not a librarian.

Did I want to read a particular book because it was related to a topic of interest? For example an adventure story about sailing. If so, am I still interested in that topic? If the interest remains, will this copy of this book likely assist me in the future when I pursue the topic?

Books easy to let go of: duplicate copies, ones I don’t want anymore, ones that can easily be replaced. There are some about topics I wanted to research, which are interesting to me but not required in the future as reference material.

When I got back from the diner, made a conscious decision not to turn on the computer and check my latest auction results until I had done something with the books.

Piled them all up on the bed. Pulled out the definite keepers. Pulled out the ones that can be easily replaced and also the ones I can sell. Took what was left and sorted them by category. Got overwhelmed at this point and went outside to clean up the yard and look around, as this was one of the first warm days the year. When I went back in I did a rapid-fire sort like they do on Clean Sweep. Pulled out the books I am keeping just because I haven’t read them yet. Pulled out another box full of ones I can get rid of. Separated the reference books. Then I only had two books left in the pile that weren’t in any other category. Now I might be able to put my keepers, reference material, and these two leftovers in my box for books. The ones I haven’t read yet – gotta look through those and maybe skim them to decide further.

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