What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

– books

on February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine’s day, dear readers! We hope whatever your weather, it’s warm at your hearth and in your hearts!

Though we haven’t posted lately, we haven’t been idle at Casa de WIST. We re-mortared the field stones that were loose in the fireplace surround and painted the sitting room. (At last!). And we’ve undertaken the soul-searching and muscle-straining labor of culling our library. How many books do an academic and a philosophically-and-theologically-trained clergyperson acquire in years, nay, decades of voracious reading? We don’t actually know … we gave up counting long ago. But: lots of lots.

We knew when we committed to lightening up that shedding books was going to be hard. Some are such good friends … others involve long- and closely-held hopes … and collectively they come to such a sunk cost. But we’ve come to see that, though a few books are tools of our trades that we use over and over, most are like meals we eat. Once we’ve enjoyed the experience, we should pass them on so others may as well. It’s crazy to build more and more bookshelves to hold them while they fade and gather dust.

Speaking of bookshelves, those are another potential shed. But back to today’s—

A church nearby occasionally rents tables for rummage sales, thereby raising funds for good works. Last fall we took mostly housewares. Today we set up a used bookstore for a half-day.

Nimue's bookstore

Nimue’s bookstore … hardbacks cost a buck, trade paperbacks 50 cents, mass-market paperbacks a quarter, or five for a dollar … we aren’t getting rich this way.

I don’t think we have second careers ahead as booksellers, but a few dozen books are now in the hands of new readers. Most importantly, we have several boxes full that we’ve already mentally parted from; we just have to decide on their destinations. Options abound: thrift stores, our community “Friends of the Library” booksale, Better World Books drop-off boxes, a venerable local used bookstore, and (for a very few volumes) internet resellers.

“Of making many books there is no end,” Ecclesiastes said, “and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Ecclesiastes was frequently a grump. Let books abound, we say! Let them never settle too long, but circulate!

shedding style: resell
destination: new readers 

Comments welcome … any ideas for other happy ways to pass books along?

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4 responses to “– books

  1. Just yesterday I was thinking about you and wondering how things were going. I’m impressed that you have managed to come to terms with the shedding of books… I think it’s a particularly difficult shed, and I only manage it rarely!

  2. Mark says:

    Yup–books are tough. I’m not exactly sure how much we shed in our move, but it was a lot… and at first letting go was hard. I think my “book recycling” trick worked out well, and I am working my way through that stack of books I set aside for this year’s reading. And all those other books we didn’t shed, which are now sitting in storage somewhere? I counted 22 boxes… and I can think of exactly two books I’ve missed having in easy reach.

    Good luck! And stay warm!

    • revdarkwater says:

      I understand the Japanese have a word, tsundoku, for the unread stack of books beside the bed … a gold star for you for working your way through yours!

      And I remembered that you went through a round of book-shedding before we did, and took inspiration from it, thanks!

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