Sunday, April 12, 2009

Books and Books and Books.....

I have become ruthless at getting rid of junk we don't need anymore. I have thrown away birthday cards (after checking them for money), Hubby's ancient bowling trophies and plaques, and the many awards he has won at work for being like the best employee EVER. Actually, to get that one all you have to do is show up when you're supposed to, do your job, and continue to breathe in and breathe out with some degree of regularity. Most of the younger ones can't string all those together.

I have eliminated some of the gazillion stuffed animals Sweet Girl has accumulated over the years, and I intend to get rid of more of them. I figure if she was home this weekend and didn't have a fit about the prospect of me throwing them out, they're fair game. She is a packrat of an extreme degree, but I figure if she doesn't know about it, she can't mind. Or something.

However, I have a TERRIBLE time getting rid of books.

Ever since I reached the age of earning my own money, I have considered owning books a luxury that I could afford. I've never been a high-maintenance woman, so I don't spend a lot on clothes, shoes, make-up, and that kind of junk. I consider it my privilege to have books on my bookshelves that I can touch, hold in my hand, dust every decade or so, and even read again if I so choose.

Hubby is of the opinion that there is a pretty good library right here in town, and they don't charge to let him read a book as long as he brings it back when it's due. And even if we keep a book an extra day or two, the fine is only ten cents a day. He usually gives the librarian a dollar and tells her to keep the change.

Hubby visits the library so often that the librarians know his reading tastes and preferences. They know what new books to recommend when he comes in the library door. Sort of like the bartender at O'Malley's when I was in college. He always had my drink ready for me when I came in. I guess those aren't really that much alike after all.

My father was into woodworking and carpentry in his retired years, and he made some pretty decent pieces for me. They weren't masterpieces, but they were functional and sturdy, and they were handmade. In a previous wifetime, he made me a bookcase that covered one entire wall of my livingroom. It was eight feet tall and I think twelve (or sixteen) feet long. He had to bring it to my house on a trailer.

Of course I felt obligated to fill up the many shelves with books. And naturally they were arranged alphabetically by author and title.

When I left that marriage in a bit of a hurry after the psycho shot up the house with a shotgun (I wasn't home....I'll save that story for a later post), I didn't get to take my books or my bookcase. I rented a very small duplex, and there was no room for either. Because he was apologetic and remorseful (aren't they all?), he assured me that my books weren't bothering him and I could leave them there as long as I needed to.

Until the day the divorce was final. He didn't bother to show up for the hearing, but he stopped by my house immediately afterward to intimidate me. When I mentioned getting my books and bookcase, he sneered.

"Read the divorce decree," he smirked. "It says all property has been divided."

I grieved a lot more for those books than I did the loss of the marriage. They were worth more to me, more attractive to look at, and carried on much better conversations.

Eventually I got over that, though, particularly when he GRACIOUSLY returned my Complete Works of Shakespeare that had been a graduation gift from my grandmother.

I thought it broke me of the need to possess books, but they have crept their way back onto the shelves at the house I now share with Hubby. I just can't get rid of them. There are terrible books on those shelves, but I can't bring myself to throw them away. Some of them are so old (or terrible) that the library doesn't even want them. I have the American Girl series of books (in paperback) from Sweet Girl's childhood. I have books that I couldn't even finish, like Love in the Time of Cholera. (And don't take me to task; this is NOT a book club discussion.) I have most of John Grisham's books, most of which have the same plot: small town lawyer takes on the big dog firm and wins. I have almost all of Sidney Sheldon's books, and I even have TWO copies of one of them. For whatever reason.

I've ordered a new gadget (more on THAT later in the week) that should help with this problem, but until then I am still faced with the same old dilemma of what to do with books that I'm never going to read again and are taking up valuable shelf space in my living room.

Maybe I can hire someone to come to the house and purge it of all the unnecessary books. If he or she would just take them and not tell me what ultimately happens to them, I would be grateful. Any takers?

Some of the books taking up space on my bookshelf were ones I used in my research for my dissertation. I sold many of them on, but some of them didn't sell. And yet I still can't throw them away.


Anonymous said...

Just send them to me! I can't get rid of books either. The hardest thing I ever had to do was combine my books with Hubby's after we got married. Taking that step really meant commitment!

AmandaSue : ] said...

that sounds like the perfect job for a poor college kid like myself :]

KatyDid53 said...

Does this mean I don't have to return the one I borrowed from you to read on BRAG last year?

Maggie said...

You can send them to me! Or if you have a store called Half Price Books near you, they will buy them from you... so you could give them away, get some cash, and know they will have a good home when someone comes in to buy them...