I have been thinking long and hard over the last few months about my book acquisitions. That would be part of the reason why I put myself under a book-buying ban and have tried to limit what I acquire. And while I haven't been the most successful at staying away from buying books, I have been thinking long and hard about what I want my future library to look like.
The truth is, I buy and keep EVERY book I read. And while I certainly don't have an issue with continuing that because I also reread a TON, I have been thinking about all of those boxes of books left in my closet. My husband and I live in a smaller apartment and space is limited. I only have 3 bookshelves to house my books and one of those is pretty tiny. The rest of my books live in the closet. Most of them haven't seen the light of day since I packed them into those boxes before my wedding two years ago.
I have never culled my books. I have held on to everything. And really, there were quite a few books packed away that I knew I could easily get rid of without a second thought. My goal for my future library is something that holds LOVED and cherished titles. I know that some of my massive collection will never be read again-those are the ones I feel comfortable with culling. And really, my book collection was teetering near 1700 before I decided to take this on.
So, I sat down, pulled out some boxes, and started culling. I wasn't sure how many I would really get rid of, but it was enough just to go through them. I ended up pulling nearly 140 books from the boxes I went through (I still have a couple to go through). Some of the books I set aside for giveaways, others were given or sent on to friends. I am selling the rest to a used bookstore downtown (anything not sold is being donated). I consider that a huge feat and I was super proud of myself!
I thought you all might like a look at some of my books. Some are uber-embarrassing, and others brought back memories. I should note that I didn't get rid of all of these, just some. :)
This one is a collection of short stories that I bought at a library sale a few years ago (I think I was in college). The picture of the man had me cracking up....oh cheesy covers.
Why yes, that is a Peter-Pan attired chap floating in trees. I soaked this stuff up as a middle and high school student. :) Yes, nerdy.
Yet more old science-fiction titles. I think these two were actually turned into book trees the other night. I read a lot of this kind of science-fiction in high school. I was a cheesy sci-fi junkie.
Oh Lurlene McDaniel...how I loved your emotional, sappy books as a young pre-teen. And I was surprised to see I still had a handful...
I have this...obsession with dragons. I know that sounds totally stupid coming from a 26 year old. But hey, dragons are sweet. This is actually a newer book that my mom bought me from Borders when they were closing. I see this as a necessity. :)
This one had me cracking up. I know when and where I bought it, but I think I'll keep that to myself. :)
This was another fun find. I remember being in the bookstore with Matt when he spotted this and told me to buy it. It is a fun little reference book. I think he told me to buy it so I could use it for writing, which makes me laugh to think about now. Anyway, I kept this one out to keep on the shelf (come on, it's funny!).
Opening a box from my childhood warmed my heart. It took me a really long time to go through this box, mostly because I had to crack open some of the books to find my favorite passages. These two books were some of my favorites, and to be honest, I thought I had lost these! Both of these are continuations of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I LOVED them. I only wish I had the rest of them!
Along with the above, I also found a bunch of books from the "Authors in April" events at my elementary schools. Our district sponsored this program to have authors come in and sign books for different grade levels. I always had a book or two and loved getting them signed. This one was a favorite of mine (and shows my early love for dragons). :) I love the message too.
Another thing I forgot I had were these-5 double editions of Nancy Drew stories from the 1960s. These actually belonged to my aunt and had been abandoned at my grandmother's house. When I would visit over there, I would lug these around with me and read them over and over again.
One of the things I was happiest about, in cleaning out all my books, is that I also had the opportunity to harass Matt to hang a couple of shelves for some of my older books.
My grandmother passed away a few years ago. When we were cleaning out her house in preparation to sell it, my aunts and uncles told me I could have free reign over the books in the basement. While a lot of them were in rough shape and not of any interest to me, I stumbled on some of my grandmother's older books shoved behind some boxes on a shelf. Every single one of the books on these two shelves were hers. The best part about these is that she wrote her name, address, and the date in each one. Some of these are from the 1940s. I cherish them more than anything.
This first shelf holds just a couple of them, in addition to some of my things. The teapot was bought with my mother and sister on a trip to San Francisco. The picture is of Matt and myself at my Homecoming Dance when I was a senior in high school (I think we had been dating for only 2 or 3 months at that point). The big candle holder was a gift from my aunt. The little girl statue is a Hummel, and was also given to me after my grandmother's death. She's holding a little book in her lap, so it is definitely fitting. The books are assorted, but my favorite is the red one-a collection of Dickens' Christmas stories. :)
This second shelf holds more of the books I found in her basement. Again, the picture on the left is of me and Matt (oh, so long ago), and the other was an engagement gift.
I like knowing that my grandmother would appreciate me finally having her books out on display. She was sick for a long time before she passed, and in her last few months, she still read. I actually lent her a few of my George Eliot titles during that time period thinking she would love them. And she did. Now when I read them, it gives me some level of comfort in knowing that she once held and read them too.
There you have it, a look at my book culling project. I still have a couple of boxes to go through, but I am proud of the progress I made and the fact that the books I culled will find new homes. This also makes room for more, right? ;)
How often do you go through your books?