Letting Go

It’s hard to let go of books. But I must. I just don’t have shelves enough for all of them. I had boxes and boxes of books in my auction after Forrest died. Broke my heart, but I was downsizing and there was no place for them. At least 10 boxes, but still not enough.

Now my three bedroom one story house with no basement is overflowing with “stuff.” I’m going to go through every room and eliminate everything that isn’t useful or special to me in some way. I’m starting with the books. I guess I’m a pack rat at heart, though in my other house there was room for everything.

Books are so special. They’re my second indulgence, food being the first. I don’t mark them up; I don’t bend pages; I treat them with great respect. I’m always uncomfortable when they are in others’ hands. When Forrest read one or another of them from time to time, I knew I’d get it back worn and tattered. I felt like I’d thrown one of my children into the garbage. Books are my friends. It’s not as pathetic as it sounds. I have human friends, but I’d be lost without my books.

I started reading early. In first grade I got my first library card and spent many happy hours there, leafing through the stacks, smelling leather and paper, checking a pile out to take home to read. I was sick as a child; had scarlet fever and rheumatic fever before antibiotics were available. And I had pneumonia, tonsillitis and strep throats. I spent many hours alone–reading!

Stories, thoughts, ideas, words are so very precious. And many of the authors are exceptional. I learn a lot from them; they inspire me to be the best I can be. They give me hope, faith in creation, love for nature and all creatures. They give me confidence in myself. People can do this too, but it’s tricky sometimes. Personal feelings and emotions get in the way. Some truths may be avoided for fear of offending. Besides, it’s fantastic to be able to have great minds available to you, even if on paper. And, of course, the older one gets, the less voices that are not on a page are available.

No matter where I am, I must have at least one book with me. There are books in every room of my house, except for the bathrooms and the laundry room. When I go out, which now isn’t very often, I carry one with me. If I forget to take one, I feel lost, insecure. That doesn’t happen very often.

So Ken is helping me. Earlier, he emptied three shelves above my desk and placed three boxes on the floor, one for keepers, one for donations, one for selling. I will not throw any away. I’ve started going through them, and just as I knew it would be, I’m having a hard time letting them go, some for what’s in them, others for memories they bring up. Every time I place a book in the donation or sell box, it feels like a mini funeral. But there is some consolation; the words in the books are very much alive and someone else will benefit from the wisdom between their pages. It’s nice to know that the knowledge and inspiration will be spreading.


8 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Books are my most treasured possessions– I can imagine it’d be quite difficult to let any, even a few, go! Good luck with your book sorting 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your post. It IS hard to let them go, even though I’ve had many of them for over thirty years.
      Your site looks great! I can see that you are a book lover, indeed! When I have time, I look forward to exploring your pages.

    2. Thank you, Liz, for visiting my site. I’m still sorting. It’s going to take a while. So difficult to make a decision on each one. I want to keep them all but know I can’t. I found a good home for about five of them today. It’s a beginning.

  2. Oh I feel that pain. I find it hard to let go of books too. There is comfort in having them around, and I have lugged mine everywhere with me. It’s true though, they’ll pass to others who can love and value them. Some of my books have been through many owners before finding me. I hope yours all find good homes. xx

  3. Thank you Nicole. I used to always buy new books from amazon. I still do, but I also use their marketplace and find many bargains. The books are rated according to the condition they’re in; I always buy at least ‘very good’ to ‘excellent.’ Sometimes I find new ones at a reduced price. Buying from the marketplace, I can have a lot more books. And I love it when the former owner’s name is in it. It feels like a connection.

  4. I love my books too, I can never seem to get rid of them. Pack rat, for sure! I’ve always loved to read, just like you-I spent a lot of time recuperating from illness and surgery as a child. Books always transported me away, and still do. Much love and many hugs to you my friend! Donna

  5. I love this post and your thoughts! I feel the same way about books – I can’t mark them up in any way or throw them away. I feel my identity wrapped up in them sometimes. Lovely blog. Looking forward to reading more of your poetry 🙂

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