Thursday, February 23, 2012

Make it Happen March

Location: My head
Voice: Me
Time: Earlier today


Books, Books, and still, more books.

Do I love it? Yes
Can I read them all? Hell, no.
Why am I keeping them? I have a problem
A problem? Yes, an addiction.
An addiction? Yes, an addiction to collecting books.
Perhaps you need to see someone? Perhaps you are right."

This is the conversation I have in my head on an almost daily basis. As I get older and more aware of the space issues I have in my house, I realize that there is no way I can house this many books any longer. My house is tiny. My family is busy.
We fill up every inch. I need to down size.

But how? How do you ask an addicted book lover like me to part with so many books that I have not read?

Logic. That's my answer.
Let's break it down. I have, probably 400 books in my possession. Let me clarify.
400 books that I HAVE NOT READ. Yes.
So, if I only read what I own and average 1 book per week, I'm looking at roughly the next 8 1/2 years of my life dedicated to only the books I have right now. That's 8 years of books I am going to overlook outside my house. Holy crap, I am now having an anxiety attack over this.

Can't be done. Won't be done. See I'm not just the average little ol' lover. No.
Number 1:
I am a library employee. That means I see a ton of books cross my path that I have access to for FREE. I can't possibly be expected to resist this temptation!
Number 2:
I am also a bookstore employee. Same thing. I see a ton of ARCs come in. I hear so and so co-worker recommend a great book. A customer comes in looking for a good read. I open up new product. The stimulation goes on and on and my powers in resisting new books fail me.
Number 3:
Oh yeah, did I mention that I'm a book blogger? Hello? The worst temptation there is! Email after email asking "Do you want to review this book? It's great! It's free! I'll send it to you!"


So, I am admitting defeat. There is no possible way I can read all the books I own. And conisdering I have had some of these books on my shelf for OVER A DECADE, I think it's fair to say, they've had their time. Time to go to another home where they MAY get read.

My mission is for March to become Make it Happen March. I am going to give away a large chunk of my books. I am going to donate them to my library. I am going to sell some of them to my bookstore. I am going to give away many of my old ARCs to my family, friends and my book club ladies. Take them. I don't want them back. Be gone.

I will keep atleast 20 books that I know I really want to read. For example, A Game of Thrones by George R. R Martin, Kite Runner, The Shadow of the Wind and Ahab's Wife.

Will I cry during this purge? Probably.
But it needs to happen. The opportunity to get more and more books is there and probably will be for a long time to come. ( knocking on lots of wood)

So, any words of support, encouragement or wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Maybe a rollicking version of "We are the Champions". Whatever. I'm game.

Happy Reading to you all, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Julie@My5monkeys said...

You can do it ...and Yes I have those same thoughts all the time..yes its an addiction LOL

My DH always says when are you going to get rid of your piles ....

Paula Calvanico said...

Oh don't I know how you feel: ) Even with my kindle I still love traditional books, I love the smell of the library.

I joined I found that helped me purge books I dodn't want to keep. I do have some I won't part with. It's very hard to let go at first but then it does become easier.

I have the first four in The Game Of Thrones, haven't gotten to it yet.


Tomes Devotee

Tales of Whimsy said...

I recently did this too.
(I didn't have 400. My pile was more like 136 to be exact.)
But I understand the sentiment.
Sometimes you have to say, enough is enough.
It will be tough but you know what will happen, you'll feel SO SO SO good afterwards.
I put really nice ones aside and gave them away as Christmas gifts. I donated ARCs to my mother in law.
And I donated most of them to the Friends of the Library bookstore. I figured, I use the library allot and this is my way of giving back to them.
Best of luck.
Be strong.
And prepare to feel SO good.

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

Go for it, you can do it!

I recently got rid of about 50 books, but unlike your purge they were books I had read that I know I will never read again. No point keeping the dead weight, right?

Leah said...

I'm going through the same thing right now. I joined paperback swap last month and that's really helped me to purge my shelves, especially of the books I no longer love anymore. It made me feel really good to pass along one book I'd been holding onto out of the "but it was a gift!" guilt only to find over 450 people wanted the book! True book love is not hording; it's passing along our previously loved books to give them a good home.
I posted on this last month:
Good luck! :)

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. I too am a librarian and a blogger. Good luck with weeding your collection.

Jenny said...

Good for you! I totally know what you mean... and on top of the fact that I also have that many books on my shelves, I rarely read a book off my shelves what with net galley and review books, and if it's a book I own it's because I just recently bought it, LOL. I consider them decoration for now but I'll have to downsize sometime too.

Kate Scott said...

That's going to be tough. I don't know if I could get rid of all those books. I am pretty good at keeping my books under control. I take any books that I didn't like or don't think I'll like to my local book exchange. I have about 350 books total now, which is a lot for the amount of space I have, but I find that if I rearrange things a lot, I can squeeze in more books and make it neat looking. So I do a LOT of rearranging.

Good luck cleaning house!

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

I probably shouldn't even be commenting because I'm the one that has a home library of over 3000 books and I have no desire to whittle them down to a small percentage. For instance, you going from 400 to 20 is a 95% elimination. If I did that with mine, it would put me down to about 150 books. I just can't do it. I have already been getting rid of some, but I just know in my heart that I will always have close to this many books, unless, God forbid, something catastrophic happens. All this being said, I admire your courage and fortitude. I wish you luck and I sincerely hope that it's not too painful for you.

Jo-Jo said...

Oh Michelle...good luck to you. I don't know if I could do this myself!

Marie Cloutier said...

I hear you. I do periodic weeds to keep it manageable but I don't think I could go down to 20! I admire you!

Alexia561 said...

Good luck! I'm actually afraid to count the number of unread books I own because then I might have to do something about it. Am considering getting rid of the books I've already read that aren't keepers, so will check out paperback swap. Or I could try to talk my husband into buying a bigger house.... ;)

PattyR said...

Haha - I feel your pain! I feel like my books are my friends! How do you give a friend away?!?!? About two years ago, in a fit of 'I am simplifying and minimizing' I gather box after box of books I had read and wouldn't read again (how can I - soo many new ones to read!) and tons of books I'd had intentions of reading...but after years still hadn't gotten to, and found new homes for them - the library, used book store, friends, family, hospital - off they went. Every once in awhile I think of a book, go looking for it and realize it was in that group of 'The Purged'. I am still mourning the loss of some of those. And I still have the first book I ever bought with my discount as an employee for Borders - 'When Elephants Weep' by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson. And I still haven't read it... Oh such an affliction, such an addition!

Christine said...


Don't they have storage facilities in MN?!!?

Are you sure you don't have room in your attic for a half dozen boxes? Someday you may move to a bigger place or get some inspiration for a whole wall of bookshelves somewhere in your house and you might regret letting all those books go.

I'm a terrible friend for planting that seed of doubt.. I'm sorry.

Lisa said...

Wait! You're only keep 20 books? 20? Sorry, I know I'm meant to be supporting you but gez, Michelle, that's a lot of books to part with! Truth be told, though, I know there are a lot of books on my shelves that I could get rid of and never miss. And when you're all done, you won't have that little twinge of guilt every time you bring home a new book and the old books are all looking at you like "really?" You are the champion!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I know. I know. Don't worry everyone. The actual amount kept is looking more like 100. I have sold 2 bags. yay! I am giving away 5 to my mom and her friends. They are VERY excited. And I have my one book club next Tuesday and i am going to bring them a few.

I am the giver and I'm happy with that.