Thursday, June 24, 2010


I had to get rid of about 2/3 of my books recently. I was moving here
to my new apartment and there wasn't enough space for them all. It had
to be done quickly, too, since I'd already given my notice to my old
landlord. But how do you choose between a lifetime of books? Most of
them were paperbacks but there were quite a few hardcovers, because
I've been a bookseller for 21 years now and that employee discount
made buying them less expensive.And some of them were paperbacks
dating back to the 1960's. I found myself changing my decisions
several times on  the fates of particular books. Should I get rid
of all the fiction and just keep the nonfiction, or keep only
hardcovers over the paperbacks?

In the end, three things factored into whether a book stayed or
went: online availability, favorites, and memories.

Online availability came into play for the nonfiction books. Could the
information in them be accessed online. Most of these books were
history and mythology with some poetry books. While the actual
books might not be online, by and large the subjects they covered are,
so most of them went. Those I kept were favorites and have memories
attached to them. Goodbye to my old college texts! And I kept any
book that pertained to my family history.

Favorites are the authors and books I've followed for years, mainly
series in the genres: Robert Parker, Peter Tremayne and Michael Jecks
in mysteries, Jim Butcher, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, CJ Cherryh,
Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov and more. I kept the books
that I'd had autographed over the years by writers at signings in the store
or at conventions.

Finally there were the books that have memories attached to them. That
will be covered in the next post.

In the end, despite the difficulty of culling down the collection, I had the
easy part of the job. My sister and brother in law did the actual moving
of all the books, both those that stayed and those that were donated and
I thank them for all the work they did in the move.

I hope that the books that left are being enjoyed by their new owners!



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. We went through this a year ago, when I retired as a professor, and moved from a three bedroom condo to a very small retirement cabin. We did have more planning time, but, cutting our hundreds and hundreds of books down to the new size was very, very hard. Best wishes with the new blog. I think you will enjoy the freedom it gives you!

    Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  3. My husband once remarked that we needed a house with a library. I said that what we really need is a library with living quarters!

    From time to time I acknowledge the necessity of paring down my books. That is as far as I get with it! I just can't do it. It is almost like kicking your children out of the house. I know I have books that I have not read in years, but some of them I may read again -- having already read them three or four times! These are my favorites -- such as Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz, or Adela Rogers St. John's The Honeycomb. Those will not leave the collection.

    Others would also be hard to part with, yet I know that the day is coming when I will have to, because our books are going to push us out of the house one day.

    And this is a great idea, Bill! I look forward to reading future entries. Good going, cuz!