Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Chucking Out the Books...Or Not.

Do you throw out books? Or, like me, do you keep them even when you know you're never going to read them again?

One of my biggest regrets is chucking out 100's of books at the behest of my then wife. They were in the loft, safely boxed up and out of the way and we didn't need the space. The only books we had downstairs were those that were 'useful', or looked good on the shelf as they were part of a set.

Some of them cannot be replaced as they were 19th and early 20th century books. None were collector's items or first editions, most of them were 'trash' novels that were a diverting read now and then. I kept them partly for the sake of keeping them and partly because it was (and still is) a dream to one day have a house big enough to house a mini-library.

As I look at my two fully stacked (getting to the point of overflowing) bookshelves I can see a few that I will never read again, may never refer to, or have only partly read as they were not worth reading (Keeping It Real being an example).

I may at some point, box them up and store them until I can fulfill my dream, but I won't throw them out again.

Why?

A book is a source of information or entertainment, some of which may never be needed or used again (ask any librarian), but that doesn't make it disposable. Novels which bore the pants off me, or are just 'not my style', may entertain my children or grandchildren.

Passing something on to another person who can use it is an excellent idea. If we don't have the space to store something, then donating to a charity shop can be an option, but can we say the same for just 'chucking it out'? If we get into the habit of discarding anything we feel is useless, what does that reveal about us?

How many books do you have that you're never likely to read?

1 comment:

missieone said...

My home is full of books, even on the window ledges!!! The library dream is ever present for me too!!!