OK, I have made one previous minor attempt to chip away at my books. Today is another small step in that direction.
I suppose it should be no surprise, given my profession, that I would have the hardest time shedding books. But the reality is: I have plenty of books on my shelves that I will never reread, and that I can’t imagine any of the kids ever picking up to read. Nor would I say that most of the books–tattered paperbacks–have any collectible value. With a move pending, I have a bit more motivation to let go of some of these titles, but it’s still a difficult task.
The root problem: books are fetish items for me–no, not that kind of fetish, but their material presence, stacked on shelves or piled on the floor, serves as a talisman of a sort–charms that strengthen and maintain that illusion I have of myself (and isn’t that what ego is?) as a well-read, educated, and cultured individual.
But it’s just more stuff, really.
So I continue to chip away at the books, using the same guideline as I did before: if I can’t fit them on the shelf, then they need to be donated to someone who has space and use for them. I tried to use that same standard of enduring value for holding onto the titles that I kept (or more accurately: if there was clearly no enduring value for a book, that was one I could toss).
In the end, I packed up two heavy-duty, two handled paper shopping bags with books and sent them down to the basement to await their eventual donation.
And yes, I did cheat–I couldn’t quite fit all the books that I wanted to keep onto these two sets of shelves, so a small handful–fewer than ten–joined the overflowing stacks of books on another set of shelves just to the left… and conveniently off camera.