Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

So, I recently wrote about my husband saying I agreed no more books when the new book shelves were full. One, I NEVER. EVER. agreed to that. Two, I gave away six boxes of books. And I’m not done thinning the herd. I know there are more I can get rid of. But I have a hard time with change. And I have a hoarder mentality when it comes to books. “What if I want to read this again?” or “What if I want to read this the first time?” is what I think when parting with a book. Those thoughts are slightly ridiculous as 99.9% of the books I give away are books I hate. But the thought still crosses my mind.

So. I gave away a bunch of books. Many (probably most, if I am being honest) of them, I will not miss and will not remember the title of. Some I may miss. Several years ago, I gave away my copy of Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor, convinced I would never read it again. A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to re-read the series because I had a theory I wanted to test. Well, I can’t right now because I don’t have a copy any more.

I will also admit his here (an nowhere else) that there were several duplicate books in those give-away boxes. I had so many books boxed up, I didn’t realize I’d repurchased books I already owned. Now that they are all out an on shelves, that shouldn’t happen as often. But being a reader, I can’t guarantee it will never happen again.

Do I regret getting rid of the books? Not really. They are going to good homes and I honestly didn’t have room for them. There were textbooks I’d gotten through my years of teaching that I had multiple copies of or were from the early 2000s or before and were out-of-date. There is no good reason to hang on to those. Yet, I still felt a twinge of sorrow at letting them go.

I have never experienced any trauma that would explain why I have such an attachment to my books. My house never burned down. I was never robbed of my books. Yet. Every time I try to cull my collection or thin the herd, I think about wanting to be as rich as Karl Largerfeld and having a library like his. (If you don’t know who I’m talking about, Google it.) I want sufficient space not only for the books I own but the books that will become part of my family in the future. One day, it will happen.

But I know that even if it does happen, I will have to keep thinning the herd and no matter how much space I have, I will need to get rid of books. I just have to figure out how to make parting with them less sorrowful. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Caveat: DO NOT Marie Kendo me. I’m not going to hold each book and see if it “sparks joy.” Just assume every single one does, even Harlot’s Ghost.

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