So many books, so little time. A pile of books sits on my nightstand. A tower of tomes builds on the rocking chair in my bedroom (there’s a chair under all that?). Hundreds of volumes stuff the bookcases on the first floor and the basement. I have even commandeered shelves that once held the kids’ textbooks.
Among the books are those for my ongoing self-improvement project: to read every Pulitzer Prize-winning novel from the beginning of the awards, and to read American history. More history is being made as I wait.
I love to read. I buy books and pile them up in the hope that I will find the time to read them all. In fact, I like reading so much that I usually have a few books going at one time: one for the current month’s book club meeting, one on the Kindle for travel, and one in audio format for the car. Then, of course, are the numerous newspapers and magazines to which I subscribe. No wonder I wear glasses.
Being a writer myself, I am painfully aware that most authors do not earn the big bucks of the Stephen Kings and Dan Browns of the world. I want to support them, both financially and morally. But, I have a dilemma. Joel and I have been accumulating stuff for over 36 years of marriage, and since we had been in school for umpteen years prior to marriage, what we brought to our union was books.
I want to clean out my house! I don’t want my kids and their spouses to curse me after I’m gone, when they are tasked with sorting through the clothing, the collections, and other detritus of my life.
I’ve given away many books – to the Goodwill, to libraries, to children, to friends. I have even participated in a neighborhood yard sale. (Oddly, when I returned home from that sale, the empty spaces on the bookcases were full again. Do books procreate like wire clothes hangers?)
I do continue to purchase e-books, but since they are stored on the Kindle, they don’t require space and do not accumulate dust. (OMG, am I channeling my mother?).
Recently I came to what I think is a fair solution to the problem. When I want to read a particular book, I borrow it from the library. If I like it enough, it goes on my gift-shopping list. If I like it a lot, I purchase several copies to present at holidays, birthdays, as house gifts, etc. That way, authors earn their royalties and my gift-giving challenges are solved.
So, why are my shelves still bulging?
E.Rickie Leiter says
I remember when WNER Hadassah used to have books sales at our meetings! I love your solution – borrow or buy for gifts.
Lorrin Krouss says
I loved this post and it felt as if you were writing it just for me. I have books piled all over and have pushed and shoved an old bookcase into the back of a closet so that I can store more books. What I am now doing, is as soon as I read a wonderful book, I try and hand it off to a friend with instructions not to return it. I, too, donate books to local book sales and libraries. But when I do the drop off – somehow, I return with more books. How can I resist a great mystery novel for $1.00? I do not “Kindle” and Amazon.com books and I are on a first name basis. And so, the mountains continue and I dust the mountains. I guess there are far worse addictions.