So, I'm moving out of state in less than two weeks, and for people like me, the big question is: How do I move my home library? Do I just clean out the deadwood, or do I get hard-nosed and cut even more? And what exactly qualifies a book for cutting? (Or, as those glass half-full people might put it, What makes a book likely to enrich the local public library or thrift store?)
I have included a few photos of my current library... Just kidding. Can you tell which one is Karl Lagerfeld's? (I have this suspicion that if he ever removes his sunglasses, his face will fall off.) Does he read his books, truly? Er--for that matter, do I read mine?
In case my blog doesn't give it away, I'll confess this very minute that I'm a bonafide book hoarder. (As opposed to a book horder, which means belonging to a tribe that rides down out of the yellow Southern California mountains yelling in some strange Tolkienesque dialect on the way to raiding libraries of their treasures, things like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Hilary McKay's latest, and every Terry Pratchett book ever written...)
The questions I ask as I try really hard to divest myself of a few of these books are as follows:
1. Do I love this book? Am I ever going to reread it?
2. Can I use this book with my students? Would I hand it to a kid with a huge smile on my face?
3. Is it worth blogging about at some point?
4. Is my reluctance to let it go a result of generalized book greed, or is it truly this particular book I can't live without?
And then there's the more existential question: I've read this; now why do I also feel compelled to own it?
Of course, book owning feels to me like surrounding myself with friends. I suppose that makes it a variation on the security blanket. (Remember Linus?) It's pretty much like the way going to a library or bookstore makes me happy when I've had a bad day. Which makes me sound like an addict. But I suspect books as drugs are way better than, say, drugs as drugs.
Even as I packed the boxes, I came across treasured friends. I tried to resist the temptation to stop packing and read them, but I failed more than once and just decided to rejoice in renewing my acquaintance with some favorites.
I was also reminded of just how crazy I am about poetry! My culling efforts dropped significantly when I went through the poetry shelves.
By the way, when the going has gotten tough over the past few weeks, I've sat down and reread books from my Discworld collection. Because if Sam Vimes can do it, whatever hard thing he's being called upon to do, so can I. And the humor keeps me going, too.
Now, I know some of you can relate. One of the guys who came from my church today to help my brother load the truck said knowingly of his own library, "I don't like to go below 2,000."
(Another guy remarked, "All of this will be on Kindle eventually." I plugged my ears.)
What about you? Do you have more than 1,000 books? Maybe even more than 3,000? Have you ever had to transport your home library? How did you survive? Did you cull? And especially: How do you feel about books? Are you In Love?
Note: Charlotte brings up a good point in the comments. Some books are out-of-print and are hard to replace. So if you like them and they're out of print, you might want to hang onto them rather than have to attempt to track them down again later and possibly fail.