How can I part with my precious books? No, really.
December 9, 2012 11:29 AM Subscribe
All my books are assembling in one house. Help me figure out what is a reasonable amount of books to keep, and which books I should stoop. Also, how to emotionally handle letting go of lots and lots of books.
posted by corb to Home & Garden (45 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
I have, quite literally, over 5,000 books. Some of them have been in different apartments and houses, others were in storage. The last time they were all together, I existed with books stuffed everywhere, double stacked, books on top of the bookcase, books on top of the books on top of the bookcase, books on top of wardrobes, and over 10 dedicated floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
I'm bringing them together again, as well as combining my books with my fiance's books. However, he is (reasonably) concerned about books living attractively inside their shelves. Books can live in the office, bedroom, and living room, but that is it.
At the moment, my collection closely resembles a miniature library in terms of depth and breadth -books in terrible shape and books in great shape, books three hundred years old to books bought yesterday.
Many of them I don't read, but what keeps me from getting rid of them is that someday, someone in my household (including kids as they age) might want to read them, and it would be wasteful of me to throw them away. Or we might need to reference them. (Who knows when you'll need a biography of Archibald Grimke! Or a guide to wildflowers of North America! Or to learn to speak Russian!) Also, some of these books I tell myself would be expensive to replace (even paperbacks add up in these quantities), others would be extremely difficult if not impossible. (I legally received some unclassified discards from the NSA library, for example)
Also, I've tried stooping some books, but with the varied interests, they are not all finding good homes, and I have strong moral aversions to throwing away books unless they're truly abysmal.
What is a reasonable amount of books before you become a book-cat-lady, what are good sorting mechanisms, and how do I let go of books, emotionally and logistically?