Monday, March 9, 2015

Getting Rid of Book Guilt

Oh books, beloved books. What happened? How did I miss the moment in which you went from being beautiful and helpful friends to being stressful and guilt-ridden clutter? 
Guilt for having bought a book knowing I would probably never read it.  Guilt because of books that I will never read but feel bad getting rid of because they were given to me as presentsGuilt for intending to read a book but never doing it, despite owning it for years and years. Guilt about all those unexplored worlds and all those unknown characters. 
I don't want this guilt tarnishing my love for books any longer. This needs to stop. Right now. In fact, I am already stopping it.

At last count I had around 900 books. I've been an avid reader from an early age and have always owned a lot of books. I love looking at books. I love holding and touching them. I love being able to research things even when the power goes out. But I'm realizing that my love of books isn't expressed through the number of books that I own. On the contrary, how does random and indiscriminate accumulation of a certain item show one's appreciation of it? It doesn't. Simple as that. 

So I've decided that I'm going to downsize my book collection. Big time. I don't have a fixed number that I want to arrive at, I'll just see how it plays out. But I do have an objective for the books I will eventually own. In the process of decluttering my books, I've come up with five questions to ask myself to end up with a collection of true favorites and very special books that I love and actually read.

The five questions are:

1. Have I read this book? If yes, proceed to question 2. If no, proceed to question 3.
2. Did I like this book? If yes, proceed to question 4. If no, GET RID OF IT.
3. Do I want to read this book? If yes, proceed to question 5. If no, GET RID OF IT.
4. Will I read it again? If yes, KEEP IT. If no, GET RID OF IT.
5. Will I read this in the next 2 years? If yes, KEEP IT. If no, GET RID OF IT.

In one of the next posts I will tell you how I am doing working with these questions, how many books I have already gotten rid of, what I've done with them and what I hope to do next.

Read you soon,

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