Saturday, December 30, 2006

Making Space

It's clear to me that something has to be done about my books. They are spilling out of the bookshelves Allen built for me. I am going to need to make some choices. It is clear to me that over the past few years my reading needs have changed, and many of my old books are going to have to go. While I was working on my first novel, I surrounded myself with first novels. They inspired me and gave me a sense of order regarding what I wanted to accomplish. These first novels are no longer needed. Now I'm more interested in myths, fairytales, and contemporary fiction by some of the established writers that I never got around to (such as Saul Bellow).

Some of the reference books can be taken to my office. After doing some thinning out and rearranging there, I found I have a whole shelf for wayward books. But many of my books are going to need to either be given away or taken to the Goodwill or the used bookstore. What a job this is going to be. I am reminded of a poem Donald Hall wrote after the death of his wife, Jane Kenyon. In it, he spoke of gathering books that had been bought with such high hopes, many never read, and boxing them up to discard them. I feel the same sadness and hopelessness as I go about this task, but I know I'll feel better when I've carted off many of my books and created around me the library that I need right now.


Cynthia said...

It is a sad thing to get rid of books, but I like to think that it's a hopeful thing as well. I read what is on my shelves, and if the contents there don't change, neither do I.

beths front porch said...

Ach! But the books can be like the toys to which we confessed our troubles, and although we've moved on, we might want to pick them up, blow off the dust, run our hand over the cover, and say, yeah, that was "________" (fill in the blank).

Well, I guess that's not always true. was fun to write.

I give away the books that I picked up but don't think I'll ever read. Often they had very good reviews, or are award winners. I don't get a shiver of pleasure from looking at them. They have bad book karma.

Good luck on your shelves...

Gannet Girl said...

Good luck is right. I packed up about 10 bags of books before Christmas, but I still haven't decided on a destination for them.

ggw07 said...

"On the days before the New Year celebration, Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. It is believed the cleaning sweeps away bad luck and makes their homes ready for good luck to arrive." Wikipedia
Laughed out loud at your first sentence- our house is crammed with books- always recycling. This refrain comes to mind:
"Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold."
Keep those that resonate, let go and share others. Difficult, but refreshing.
Do you know about secret book sharing?
Not as ambitious as carting out boxloads, but could be fun...

Judith HeartSong said...

Happy New Year Theresa... thank you for always thinking of me kindly:):):)


Erin said...

I have trouble getting rid of books, too. I always try to remember that if I bring them to Goodwill or Half Price Books, they might end up in the hands of someone who really needs them!



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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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