So, I had to pare down my possessions in a big way this week, preparing for our move to Brazil. Didn’t think we owned that much. What naiveté! Now, having sold or given away two couches, a coffee table, an enormous (and comfy) easy chair, patio furniture, a baker’s rack, a file cabinet, a bookcase, a desk, etc., I feel free of all of these things. They were just things that we had come to own over the past 19 years.
But the hard part was giving away (to the local library) about half of my book collection. I love books. I read them voraciously, and hold on to the books that I’ve greatly enjoyed and many that I intend to read again. I love to collect all the works of favorite authors. I buy mostly hardback books, because I want to support the authors who worked so hard to write the books. But hardbound books weigh a ton! I would guess that I had 400 books, guessing low. I own half whatever I owned before. Gave away 40 Trader Joe’s bags worth of books first, then took a backend-of-a-Highlander load to the library this week.
My books! I am an aficionado of e-books these days, but how I love real books! I’ve collected them all of my life! In fact, I still have the first books I owned as a child. Every time my dad got orders to move (he was an Army Engineer), I would get one box to fill with my stuff. From the age of nine, I saved many of my favorite books. In the past three years, I’ve passed along so many books that I’ve lost count, but I’ve kept these childhood friends.
I also kept my collection of books by PD James and by Meg Gardiner. These mean too much to me to let them go. I also kept a couple of my Dostoevsky books, but not all of them. That man wrote TOMES! Many other authors I had to let go, despite owning all of their series (Lee Childs, Zoe Sharp, Dick Francis, Robert Crais). It was like cutting off limbs.
I know they’re just books. People tell me that all the time. But they are so much more than the paper and cardboard of which they are made. They’re also friends, and portals to adventure and other worlds, and solace and relaxation.
I guess that for the next few years of my life, I will buy few physical books and concentrate on e-books. But it just won’t be the same. I can’t curl up with an e-book and stroke its spine and feel the joy of opening to the first page. But, I digress. It’s e-books for the nonce. (But, I swear, some day…I will buy books again!)