Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weeding Out Books, Plus a Keeper

A "donate" pile that will go to the library
after  I add a couple more books.

It's painful, isn't it! If only I had unlimited space to keep tons of books. But I don't, so I've had to let some of them go. 

It was having to "do something" with my mother's books several years ago that taught me to let go of books. I gave a few as remembrances, donated some, sent tons to auction (where I don't recall that they sold very well), and kept as many as I wanted and more for myself. But eventually, something had to give. (Because it's also sad to discover a book has yellowed and deteriorated and knowing someone else could have enjoyed it while it was yet in better condition.)

When the mood strikes, I go through my books, pondering, holding, flipping through their pages, putting back, but ultimately pulling out what I think I can part with. I stack them on my dresser for a week (or month) or two, and then take them to my local library for their book sale or shelves. (I am tickled when I discover a book I donated has been placed on the shelves for others to enjoy.)

Once in a rare while I take a book back off the donate stack, but more often, books I may have once thought were "keepers" make their way to the stack.

Over the years I've used various criteria for keeping or donating a book: Do I still love it? Will I really ever want to read it again? Would it be just as easy to check it out from the library if I do decide I want to read it again? Is it so wonderful and meaningful to me that I want to own it even if I never crack it open another time?

Lately, however, my criteria has boiled down to this one question: Do I want to carry this book into my retirement with me? (Which the answer to that question can also rely on the questions in the previous paragraph, but it also allows for a quick response of the heart.)

So far I am keeping most of the devotionals I've acquired and have recently added another:

I've been reading A Jane Austen Devotional slowly, poring over the excerpts from Austen's works (asking myself Do I remember them?) and enjoying their application by Steffany Woolsey to everyday life.  The book has a cloth cover and a ribbon bookmark:

But I'm preserving the ribbon and using a bookmark made by simply cutting apart a Christmas card I received:

It's rather Austenish, too, don't you think? And if it matters to you (and for me, it's a plus), the quality of the paper in the book is lovely.

Most of my other "keepers" are decorating books, Miss Read books, inspirational books that deserve more than one reading, "gift" books with beautiful artwork, and still others that were my mother's. And of course, I also have a complete collection of Victoria magazines, which I haven't reread in ages and which have been beckoning me to do so.

It can be difficult to part with books, but alas it is a necessary evil when one lives in a cozy little cottage! :O) 

How about you? Do you donate your books? Sell on ebay? BookMooch? Or are they too precious to part with?

Jesus did many other things as well.
If every one of them were written down,
I suppose that even the whole world
would not have room for the books
that would be written.
John 21:25

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Have a beautiful week!

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