I can still remember the first time I actually threw out a book. And it wasn’t just a damaged book with a ripped corner, pages no longer with glue scattering hither and yon, but a perfectly intact book, just one I didn’t want to read ever again. But it was still a very painful experience and I suffered book lover guilt for a long time. In fact unless it’s an ARC or galley, it is almost impossible for me to throw out a book. But the situation has reached a head or I’ve come to realize 40 years of books and a family can’t really co-exist in a single house. It’s sad but true.
So, the winnowing has begun…to give a little history, last time we actually counted the approximate number of books I owned, our move in 2003, we stopped at 38,000. After that it was just get the book boxes loaded and we’ll deal with them later. Could be a few aching backs too. After the move, we had over 200 boxes of clearly labeled books and then a large unknown quantity of boxes with books. We unpacked two 30 feet long, 8 feet high bookcases, layering them double double stacked in some instances and still had two rooms filled with boxes of books. This has existed with sporadic attempts at cleaning out old reads until last winter. When I decided it was time to get ruthless. Of course, my idea of ruthless was to attack one room and remove the books I could spare. We ended up with almost one box of spares to offer to the DFW Tea Readers Group. I will say my husband and son were very very supportive and didn’t seem to mind too much if I came across a book and had to sit down to look at its pages, uh, read it. In fact, if I remember correctly, I ended up with two boxes of books brought downstairs to re-read!
Well, we’ve gotten a little smarter. I know I’m not going to re-read all those books. Some of them certainly aren’t worth the time to try a second time, and they aren’t all collector pieces so maybe just maybe it’s time to clean house and let go. It’s a first step and I’ll probably need coaching and therapy during the process but I think seriously it’s time to reclaim the media room!
My husband’s second solution was to apply technology to the problem — natural response on his part. He installed Book Collectorz on my computer and waited. I’m not sure what he was waiting for me to do but whatever it was, didn’t happen. So after sighing a bit, he installed it on his lap top and with a scanner started scanning in books, putting them in boxes and giving me a printout each day. I was to go down the list of books and mark the ones I definitely needed to keep, ones for book club, and ones that were “collectible.” Unfortunately, even with my sharp memory, I couldn’t always remember title author combination and if I wanted to keep it. So he adapted and didn’t seal up book cases until I had the list and the opportunity to “double-check” the box. So after scanning, printing lists with short summaries and “Sara’s reviews” my husband has managed to box, seal and label 18 boxes or 878 books that we’re going to be able to give away.
Of course, the neatly sealed and labeled boxes are still lining my dining room, think of it as an artistic decorating statement, but they will be going to a good home (or homes) on October 11th. My precious books, along with some collectibles from Pat Cat Books will be the “foundation” of the inaugural DFW Tea Readers Book Swap at the Readers ‘n ‘ritas Convention. So, for another two months I’ll still be able to take pleasure in all my books. I do promise NOT to open ANY OF THE BOXES again! I promised Tom I would NOT! Otherwise they go to the garage where it’s hot and they might not like all that heat! *grin*
So, if you’re curious you’ll have to come to Readers ‘n ‘ritas Convention and check out the book swap. It’s Saturday, October 11th and you’ll also get food, margaritas, friendly readers and a few authors to chat up. How much fun is that? And possibly be able to give my babies a nice new appreciative home!
Sara Reyes Fresh Fiction.com …for today’s reader
Don’t miss THE Fresh Fiction Readers Conference on October 11th, 2008! With Sherrilyn Kenyon and many other favorite authors. Details at Readers-n-ritas.org — celebrate passionate literary obsessions