Monday, August 19, 2013

A Pilgrim Book Lover's Confession

I have a confession to make-- one that might pass without much comment in much of the world, but will be akin to heresy here in this forum. 

I'm getting rid of many of my print books. Actually, I have been weeding them out for years. First I sold or gave away most of my collection of books about ancient Egypt. And I had a lot of them. The only ones I wanted to keep were the ones from my childhood and the art books.  Next were the paperback novels I don't think I will have time to read. I don't mean I won't have time this year or next. I mean I won't have time ever. And that applies to many other "dispensable" books on my shelves. Category by category, book by book, they are leaving my house.

When I was younger the very presence of books were my riches. I spent all my babysitting money, indeed all my money until my senior year of high school (when everything had to go toward college costs) on books, usually paperback and used. 

I hauled them with me when I became temporarily homeless, then to college. When I got married we bought bookshelves and went without a television for a while. I had my priorities.

Every house I've lived in was arranged around books. And now I am parting with them. At this point I probably have fewer than half of my books. Unless there is a reason for a print book, I am buying electronic ones. And of course the free ones, I've acquired some of them too. 

If my Kindle could bulge, it would. I don't know what its capacity is, but even its shelves are stocked with the temporary: I'm already mentally preparing to delete those whose allure has dulled. 

Though I am unaware of any health issues, I believe the truth of the outward wasting away that Paul spoke of--even as I am surely being renewed day by day, fitting myself for a great coming journey.

Something about the unsubstantial and weightless nature of electronic books is a sobering reminder. Not only am I passing away, the apostle John said that this world itself--not just its physicalities but its thoughts and its books-- is passing away too. 

Only what is eternal will last. I want ideas that are true in my knapsack for my journey. I don't want to carry around or dust things I won't read. And as for everything else-- I'm traveling light, my friends. 


christine said...

I have limited myself to two book shelves only for books. And these are books that I love and re-read, or that were owned by my great, great grandparents. I love the library for loaning books and e-books, and use it frequently.

Living lightly is a good thing. More power to you.

Henrietta Frankensee said...

My husband is with you! I am not. He has piles of books on the floor that he has no time or energy to deal with. I offered to buy book shelves and he started rooting through my books suggesting which ones I could throw away. There is an ulterior motive, of course.
I see into the future where electricity will fail. We will all be freezing in the dark. We will be burning books to keep warm and those who treasure knowledge will bury them in caves so that future generations might find them.
This has happened too many times in the existence of humanity to not happen again.

Susie Finkbeiner said...

I've come to the conclusion that if I don't need the book, I'll donate it to the library. It's so hard to that, though. Well, and I have this problem with buying books to replace the one's I've donated.

However, I am getting better at donating ones I've read. But only if I don't absolutely love them.

Anonymous said...

Whew. I thought you would all want to burn me at the stake.

Cherry Odelberg said...

I would say, "That resonates with me," but the phrase is so overused.
I get it.

Jenny said...

I spent a good deal of money to move more than 500 books 1500 miles to our new home, and now I want to follow your example and get rid of most of them. Only a handful mean anything to me and are ones I would revisit. Many are considered collectible, but if they're languishing on my shelves unread, who cares? It's time to winnow.

Latayne C. Scott said...

Whoops-- that Anonymous was me, thanking Jack, Christine, Henrietta and Susie for being understanding. Cherry and Jenny, I'm the wind, I'm a radio signal. If you're on my wavelength, you do indeed resonate. Don't we sound great together?