Weeding the book collection

My dismantled library

In order to accommodate new (to us) furnishings, I was forced to part with my bookshelf. It was rickety and apparently IKEA furniture isn’t made to travel halfway across the continental United States.

Alas, I had to dismantle my toned down library (I have about 100+ more books in the closet), and I am conflicted as to what to do with them. As I was removing them from the shelves, several categories popped up.

My history books: namely U.S. Civil War, WWII, some Revolutionary War. Would I ever read them again? Possibly. Some I am definitely never parting with, i.e. Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPhereson, The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, all of my Stephen Ambrose. Could I at least part with some? The ones with intriguing titles like “The Things your History Teacher Never Taught You About the Civil War”? Maybe. Holocaust books? Never.

My spirituality books: there are some I actually haven’t read yet. Some my mom or friends have passed on to me that I haven’t had the chance or the interest to read recently. I have a ton of John Edward books, that I’m keeping (despite the fact that my husband hates him), plenty of books on reincarnation, dreams, etc. I could get rid of the more wackier ones.  Ones that are staying?  Journey of Souls/Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton, Many Lives, Many Masters by Michael Weiss and anything by those two men.

The classics: between my husband and myself, we have a nice collection of truly classic books. Some of them are in very nice hardback editions. I have saved some of the books I loved from my childhood. I have a beautiful copy of “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery, “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My husband has “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, and an absolutely incredible, gold gilded copy of “The Inferno” by Dante Aleghieri (with illustrations). These are staying put.

However, I can’t find my copy of “Now We Are Six” by A. A. Milne. He is the wonderful man behind “Winnie the Pooh”. I received it as a gift from a friend on my sixth birthday, and as my daughter is rapidly approaching that magical age, I wanted to give her my copy. I have moved several times in the past few years and I hope that I can find my copy. Or I hope I can order a new one.

Crime/thriller: a lot of James Patterson, some books we picked up here and there over the years. I am not parting with some of my books by Cyril Wecht M.D. I know its morbid, but he has a series of books about the cases he has consulted on over the years. He used to be the corner of Pittsburgh, PA, and he is just amazing with explaining pathology. That stays. The others I can part with.

Stephen King: I can never part with these. But I will make sure they are out of reach of my daughter so she doesn’t start reading “the master” at a young age like I did. I am permanently afraid of clowns. FOREVER.

Self-help:  I have a small collection of these types of books, “Toxic Parents” and “Toxic In-Laws” by Susan Forward among them.  I will keep those.  I think I am writing a post on these types of books soon.  I have some uncategorizable books that are in this vein that I could part with, but they are wonderful all the same “Why Do I Love These People?” by Po Bronson, and “Are You Wearing That?” by Deborah Tannen.  “Reviving Ophelia” by Mary Pipher I will keep, as I will have an adolescent girl in 7 years.

I guess this is self help, I bought “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker when I was really young.  I should have listened to every word printed in that book.  It has taken me until a few years ago to start using those cues and rely on my own intuition.  I will never part with that book, in fact I reread it from time to time so I can remind myself that I’m not paranoid, there is legitimate reasons that I was creeped out by that guy in the parking lot.

Political:  Wow.  I do have a copy of Ayn Rand “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead” but they are still in plastic.  I live in Texas, this state is painted red and I received some of my books as gifts.  My ideals have changed a bit politically in the last five years or so, since the right became so nutty and angry and more radical.  I do have some right wing books such as Glenn Beck(signed too) and Ann Coulter.  Those can go.  I’ll keep Stephen Colbert.  He’s dreamy 🙂

Comics/humor:  I found such gems as 3 different editions of Calvin and Hobbs.  Yay!! Definitely a keeper.  I found some Far Side collections. Came across the “Tasteless Jokes” book again.  This one will  be hiding on top of the fridge until my child is 18.  Why not just get rid of it?  It’s an integral part of my husband’s childhood, see my post here.

Professional:  I am a nurse, my husband has a degree in chemistry.  We have textbooks, manuals, dictionaries, books with titles such as “How We Die”. Kind of freaks people out.  But our friends who call with medical questions or to tutor their children in chemistry (or physics or math) are grateful for the information.  I think the medical and chem stuff with stay.  That shit is expensive!

Oddities:  I found my second grade yearbook.  I only posted the cover on FB and have already had pleas to not post the pics.  I will comply as I look like a chipmunk who was recently electrocuted and dressed  by the wardrobe department of “Little House on the Prairie”.

I found my husband’s freshman and sophomore yearbooks.  He went to an all boys Catholic school.  He looked like a bobble-head until his body caught up with the rest of him, sometime in college.

I found my daughter’s baby book.  I hate having to answer questions to her like “who is that strange man holding me?” “Honey, that is your biological father”.

And, finally, my awesome collection of the Babysitter’s Club books.  To keep or not to keep.  I loved them.  I can’t be sure my daughter would be so enthralled about a group of 13 year old girls who babysit in Connecticut in the 80s.

I’ll spend the next week sifting.  And just imagine.  I have 200+ books on the kindle.  If they were in print form, I’d be swimming in books!

Any thoughts on what to keep or take to the half priced book store?  What have you done with ever growing book collections?



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. ksbeth
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 15:24:31

    i put mine back out into the universe. leave them in a public place for someone to sit and read in the park or take it home forever.


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