Monday, May 28, 2012

Too Many Books

In trying to get ready to move out of my parents' house this summer, I'm being confronted by all the stuff I've accumulated and the wasteful behaviors I've acquired in the last twenty two years. Big area of weakness: my book collection.

I've always loved to read.  My family frequently gave me books for my birthday and Christmas.  Whenever I had money, I bought books, new or used.  My high school hosted a huge used book sale every year.  My book collection grew and grew and grew.  As I grew up, I took more and more pride in how many books I had.

The problem is that I wasn't reading all of the books.  I read a lot of them, but a fair number just sat there.  I didn't have as much time to read as I once had.  I bought books I thought I "should" read.  I bought many books at once, and I would only read one or two before my interest moved on.  I always meant to go back and read the rest.  Sometimes I did.  Sometimes I didn't.

Which leads me to this pile, containing (almost) all of the books in my room that I haven't yet read.  This pile represents wasted money (mine and my family's) and wasted good intention.  I've had some of these books for seven or eight years without reading them.

I've given myself the summer to read as many as I can.  If I read a book, I can keep it.  At the end of the summer, I'll pick 3-5 books that I still intend to read, and I'll donate everything else.  That step will hurt, and I'm dreading it.  I like having stuff.  I like having books around "just in case" I want to read them someday.  But more than that, I want to appreciate the books I've read and love.  The majority of the books above are readily available in bookstores and libraries.  If I want to read them someday, I can get them again.  It's time for me to let these books go.


  1. will you tell us which ones you read? I'm curious to know what's in this pile

  2. I'll definitely put up a list of what I've read at the end of the summer. Maybe I'll do some updates, too... The pile's about 1/2 classics/literature, 1/3 science fiction/fantasy, and then the rest is a random assortment of Young Adult, nonfiction, and Manga. Thus far I've read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and am in the middle of The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card.