Friday, November 15, 2013

Letting Go: It's a Process

I don't know why I need books the way I do. Obviously reading them is wonderful. Every book is a unique experience in a different world, an escape from reality, a journey into the unknown, and like George R.R. Martin* says, "A reader lives a thousand lives." I understand what I love about them, but I don't know why I need books around.  

Libraries make me feel like dancing too, Belle.

Once upon a time, I was a having horrible day. I was at work and needed to get out before I emotionally imploded. Lucky for me, there was a Barnes & Noble next door. I grabbed a Soy Chai Tea Latte and walked around the fiction and young adult sections. I ended up buying a gorgeous copy of Persuasion, my favorite Jane Austen. I don't know why the sight of books calms me, but it does and it didn't let me down on Monica's horrible day. There's so much to discover and experience in the world, too much to get caught up in the trivial annoyances and hiccups of daily life. Books are a tangible representation of all the world has to offer. Okay, I guess I just realized why I like having them around...

The flip-side to basking in their presence is getting nervous at the thought of parting with my books. When my friend mentioned her school's annual book drive, my first thought was going and increasing my collection. When she said they were accepting donations, I felt an irrational pulse of terror. 

Not my books!**

Fortunately for the school, I am a rational individual and (though it was with much trepidation) I decided to donate some. My shelves are overflowing and I can't stop buying more. Yes I have a Nook and I take advantage of the Boston Library's fabulous eBook loaning program, but I continue to buy new and used books. I just love them.

When I went through my 300+ books, I did my best to consider the ones I should keep. Those being the ones I thought I might read again or would be likely to loan to other readers. I came up with four that I was willing to part with...

I have problems. First world problems. Nerd girl problems. Ravenclaw problems. I could go on, but won't.

I gave myself a stern talking to about how important it is for affordable used books to be available, how great it is to support a wonderful local school, and how I probably wasn't going to read most of these books again. What was I doing really? Just hoarding the knowledge for myself, which isn't cool. Knowledge is power and I want to share that power. Plus hoarding is unhealthy and kind of weird. I mean it would be weirder if they were cats or VHS tapes of my favorite late night infomercials. Minimal level of weirdness aside, I went through my shelves again. 

The donate pile grew and grew until it contained about twenty books!

I felt great after I filled the huge tote bag with thousands of pages of goodness. Soon other people will enjoy these books. Three cheers for being charitable. Plus, now I've got some space on my shelves...

*But writers only live one, so maybe write a bit faster, okay Georgie?
**Those actually aren't my books. They belong to the Boston Public Library. They were also mostly in French, which Belle would have appreciated.


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