Thursday, June 30, 2011

Decluttering: All Those Books

For my 27th birthday, my Dear Husband was generous enough to gift me with an eReader, a Kobo.  I'm an avid reader, but never in a million years did I think I would ever be in favor of getting my daily fiction fix from a 7 inch electronic screen.  What about the paper*  What about flipping the pages?  What about the smell and feel of a well worn and well loved novel in your hands?  What about the romance, the timelessness of reading, dangit?

Photo Credit: jblyburg on Flickr

But despite all my best efforts to NOT like it, my eReader has quickly become one of my most treasured possessions.  It's light, it stores thousands of books, and it stays charged for at least a week at a time.  I can "turn" the pages with one hand, leaving my other hand free to, say, hold a nursing baby.  My eReader is one of those gadgets that I can't imagine living without.

Then I discovered a bonus benefit to owning an eReader: the possibility of finally getting to declutter my books and free up some much needed space on my bookshelves!  We have four full-sized bookshelves in our home, previously filled to the brim with dozens, if not hundreds, of books.  Paperbacks, hardcovers, children's books, cookbooks, fiction, biographies - we had a little bit of everything!  I never wanted to part with a book.  What if I wanted to read it again?

And that's the beauty of my eReader!  I can download digital copies of all of my books and store them in one place!  No more crowded bookshelves, no books scattered on the floor when the kids get into them, no more misplacing my favorites.  Once I came to this realization, I started purging.  And it felt good.

Over the course of an evening, I culled almost two hundred books from the shelves.  I didn't toss everything, though.  I kept the nice classics, the Shakespeare and the Homer.  I kept the books that didn't seem to be likely candidates for ebook download.  I kept the great children's books that my husband and I love and want to share with our children.  Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, Shel Silverstein, among others.  Everything else was packed neatly into boxes.

I had made it through the difficult task of reducing our library from a few hundred books to just a few dozen, but then I suddenly had another dilemma - what do I do with all these books that I no longer want?

That, my readers, is a question I'll address in tomorrow's post.  But until then, how about sharing with me the titles of your favorite books?  Do you find it difficult to let go of a much loved read?


  1. I have an eclectic mix of favourite books. Ben is actually rereading one of them at the moment - John Twelve Hawkes' 'The Traveller' - a fascinating and gripping book.

    We've moved on quite a few books recently, the sort that I enjoyed reading but probably won't read again, but there are several that I won't get rid of. I want our children to grow up with lots of books in the house, so I'm happy to keep quite a few. L already has a good 60+ books of her own, even though we regularly use the library.

  2. Sarah - We're to the point now that the kids have about 4x as many books as Aaron and I. I'm having a MUCH more difficult time getting rid of any of their books!