“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” − Sir Francis Bacon “And some books are meant to be discarded.” − Cathy Stefanec Ogren
The books you see on the bookshelves in our basement are books I’ve been hoarding for years. These bookshelves are an extension of our home library because there’s not enough room upstairs to store them all. On these shelves are reference books, writing books, books that I’ve used for teaching, books from my daughter’s childhood, cook books, history books, biographies, really old books, and new books. You name it. We have it. Books. Books. Books. We’ve moved these books to several different houses, packing and unpacking them. After bringing more books home from my dad’s house, I decided it was time to act like a librarian and weed my own books. My husband cheered.
I started. Some books went right into the garbage, some books I set aside to donate, and some books that should have been discarded got a reprieve for the time being. Getting rid of books is a difficult task for me.
In the hours I spent weeding, rereading, and making decisions what to do with them, I realized books should not be hidden on bookshelves, collecting dust. Books need to be read and reread. Books need to be shared or donated to those who don’t have the pleasure of having books of their own. Books need to be loved until they fall apart. When that happens, then it’s time to say goodbye.
Throwing away a book is a sad moment for me. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend. The good thing about discarding a book is that there are always new books to meet and begin new friendships. You are never alone with a good book.