Friday, January 28, 2011

Letting Go

I am a hoarder. Of books. Let me say it again. I am a hoarder of books. Ever since college, I've had this need to keep every book that I read, buy almost every book that I want or think that I need. As an English major, I took a lot of literature classes, and I do mean a lot, which of course would have extensive reading lists with anywhere from 6-10 books. I would have between 18 and 30 new books a semester. Multiply that by 4 semesters. Then add all of the literature classes I took in Graduate School and I easily had another 50+ books. For my YA literature class, I purchased the 12 books on my group's reading list (the class was split into two groups) and then I got at least 4 books from the other group's reading list. (This is when my love for YA lit started)

I never saw anything wrong with getting new books. I loved books and the stories and adventures that were within the covers. Some books I wanted because of the cover. Sad but true. Again, I didn't see anything wrong with having so many. They are a great investment. I would have an extensive library that my friends could borrow from whenever they wanted. But as the years have passed, they haven't really wanted to. (Those of you who do borrow my books, I'm not talking about you and I love it when you read my books).

My need for having new books didn't end when I graduated (shall I admit it? yes, 7 years ago). My favorite place to go shopping is the bookstore (as I imagine many of you reading this blog can relate). I don't have a closet full of clothes or a different pair of shoes to wear with every outfit. But what I do have are books, books, and more books. And you know what else? Even More Books. I have books that I had to have the day they were released and I still haven't read. I have several series that I've never even read (that would be you Harry Potter .  . . and Gossip Girl . . . . and Shopaholic).

I've commented here a few times about my self-imposed book buying ban which will be ending in 3 days (yes, I am counting them down), and how difficult it has been for me. But I am glad that I decided to do it because it has made me realize that I don't need every book I want. I don't have enough time to read every book I want to read and sometimes I am overwhelmed by how many choices I have. And I don't have the space to house all of the books that I own.

So what does this all really mean? It means that it is time to Let Go. It's time to let go of books that I read for school and will probably never read again. It's time to let go of the books that I started and will most likely never finish. It's time to let go of my "lender" copies - do I really need 3 copies of the same book? Nope. I sure do not. It's time to admit that I'm not going to read all of the classics I think I should read and if I decide to one day, I'll just check them out from the library.

Over the next few months I will be sorting through my shelves for books to donate to the local Adult Literacy Program, swapping a few, and hosting "Letting Go" giveaways. I'll have to roll my change for postage, but I think it is worth it. (that may be a shameless plug, but I hope you see it as an opportunity)

Does this mean that I will stop buying books? No way. I just won't be so quick to purchase. I will put more thought into my purchases and I will see if my local libraries have the books before I rush out to the bookstore. I say all of this, but there is a book released on February 1st that I will be getting. For sure.  A little book called Delirium, you may have heard of it. I didn't say I was cured, but I am ready for change.


  1. I know exactly what you mean! I'm a book hoarder as well. I have so many books and I read all the time and im always buying more and more. Thats one of the reasons I just started my book blog. I have so many books its hard to keep up! :)

  2. Good luck with letting go! Maybe it will help you treasure the books you keep even more? =)

  3. This was a really well written post. When I was younger I wanted to own all the books of the genres I like. Can you imagine that? I wish you luck!

  4. I am also a book hoarder and I live in a studio apartment! I have no trouble loaning out books (I probably even push them on some people) but I have suck a difficult time giving them away. Good luck with your letting go!

  5. I've been thinking the same things you're thinking now! I recently came up with criteria for when I can keep/purchase books and I've been putting it into action. I just want to suggest that you do something similar so that when you start going through your bookshelf, it's not daunting because you have a handy list to help you out :)
    To keep a book, I tell myself the book in question needs to possess at least 2 of these qualities:
    - have 4 or 5 stars on my goodreads bookshelf
    - it's a favorite
    - interesting and unique story line (even if it is not carried out well)
    - desire to reread one day
    - fits within a larger series
    - out of print (would be difficult to find)
    - distinct memories
    I give myself permission to purchase a book if...
    - if has requirements above (after reading the book through borrowing from a friend or library)
    - if found inexpensively/on sale
    - if it sounds practically perfect and i feel like gifting it to myself("delirium" in your case)

    I've also noticed you've signed up for the "off the shelf" challenge which is a great idea for you!!

    I just thought it may help you out a bit if you had a few ideas :)

  6. I recently cleared my bookshelf too. It was tough, but so necessary to make room for new books! I have a shelf full of my absolute favorites that I know I need to own a copy of though!

  7. Me too! I have stacks of books that I haven't gotten around to reading yet - and they keep piling up! But I'm reading some, I swear!

    I banned myself from bookstores some months ago, but that has long since been uplifted. I've tried to cut back my visits though since they get me into trouble! It's an ongoing battle :}


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