While this will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me — or those who helped me to move earlier this year — it’s time to admit I have too many books.
(I can hear my family members gasp as they read that sentence.)
My father recently completed building four new bookcases for my library.
And as I was arranging them — alphabetically by author’s last name, then alphabetically by title (unless it’s a series, then it’s chronologically) — and looking at the empty shelves and the books that still need to be shelved, I realized that there is no way they all are going to fit…
…which leads me to the topic for today: Weeding my collection.
How do I decide which books stay and which books go?
Some decisions are obvious — I probably don’t need three copies of “Sense and Sensibility,” or the 15th book in a series I intend to read one day … but I don’t own any other entries in the series.
But others are not as clear.
Will I ever read that Pulitzer Prize winner that I picked up for a song or is that wishful thinking on my part?
I enjoy “Inkheart” immensely when it first came out, but have yet to read the final book in the last nine years.
Do I keep all of them or only the first one that I loved? Will I ever reread it?
Obviously, weeding a personal collection is just that — extremely personal.
There are a few things I know for certain — I always will keep the copy of “The Tender Years” my great-grandmother gave me for my 14th birthday and the collection of Miss Marple stories my father gave me for my 16th birthday.
There always will be copies of “Persuasion,” “Anne of Green Gables” and the Harry Potter series on my shelves.
Kenneth Graham, Jack London and E.B. White will be read aloud if I ever have children.
But what really struck me as I pondered all this was how grateful I am to live in a country where I can own too many books.
I can write about it and tell people about what I am reading. I don’t have to fear that someone will try to take them away or arrest me for having them.
It’s a beautiful blessing — one I am thankful for everyday.