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Why Is It So Painful to Part with Books?

 
 
Roberta
 
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 01:16 am
I'm in the process of cleaning out my apartment. Purging. I've dealt with old clothes, kitchen items, linens. All manner of stuff. No problem. I don't use it or wear it anymore. It's gone.

But books. Ouch. I've read them. The chances are I'm not going to read them again. So why do I want them in my home? I've been asking myself this question as I plow through shelf after shelf, putting books in the "toss" pile, only to retrieve them. Putting others in the pile and leaving them there but feeling like I'm missing something.

This is not a rational reaction. I have an emotional attachment to inanimate objects that are not family heirlooms. There's nothing in the books that relates to me personally. My experience in reading them was intellectual, and sometimes emotional, but I'm talking about words on a piece of paper.

What is this strong attachment?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,627 • Replies: 31
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Montana
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 02:02 am
Roberta
I have that same attachment and I think it's because since we've read the books that they have become a part of us in some strange way. I know that when I get into a good book I feel like I am part of the story, but that's just me.
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SealPoet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 05:44 am
Becuase they look good en' masse. (Well they would if someone straightened them and dusted.)
Because I might run out of things to read. (When I retire maybe).
Because I might want to lend them to friends. (Why not do that now to be rid of the books.)
Because I want to show you this passage where the heroine does this... it's so well written! (What book was that in?)
Because...

It's painful becuase we are habitual readers, so every book that goes into the heap must at least be glanced at... you know this book here is just full of words, every one of those words is able to be read by a reader, and we must be readers otherwise we wouldn't have so many damn books laying about!

Goodbye old friends.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 05:49 am
I think that we are loath to part with books, for the same reason that we are unwilling to destroy photographs that we have taken. They are a part of our history, part of what we have become.
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onyxelle
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 05:50 am
i love to read...never go the library..always buy my books - because after i read them, i want to keep them. I like the idea of looking at my shelves grow and grow and grow - and of having much reading material for my girls when they grow up (i've kept all of my books from the time i was able buy them for myself) I even buy 'kids' novels and stuff for my girls to read when they get older.

and they WILL read damn it! lol
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 05:50 am
Hmmm - I struggle with it, too.

I cull regularly - largely getting rid of the trashier elements - but many faithful soldiers have been with me for many years - moved heaven knows how often - and re-read from time to time - or dipped into for silly arguments, or lent, or generally enjoyed.

I have more than I can count - I cannot even, at present, recall how many BOOKCases I have.

'Tis an addiction.....
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 05:51 am
Hope the purge is going ok, sweet Boida?

Purged Mikey yet?


Just kidding!!!!
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 05:53 am
I assume you read to your girls a lot, Onyxelle? Great fun, is it not?
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 06:01 am
Deb, the purge is chugging along. I had tears in my eyes when my 40-year-old set of the Encyclopedia Britannica was carted out. Wait! No, okay, take em. No, wait. I treasured that set of books. I made a point of turning every page, skimming or stopping to read. Now the history is incomplete, the science is obsolete, and the geography? Fuggedaboudit.

The kitchen is mostly done. The bedroom, linen closet, and medicine cabinet done. But the books and some papers remain. Also a couple of old computers that has stuff in them I have to get at before they can be tossed.

Two weeks ago, I had my desk carted out. Don't miss it. But my Detective Merrivales--John Dickson Carter aka Carter Dickson--and my Georges Simenons. In and out the pile.

BTW, I sold 500 books a few years ago, so what remains is the cream of the crop mostly. Groan.

As for Mikey. He's helping. Every time I clear out a spot, he sits in it. He's also helpful while I'm clearing out the spot.

Hey, wait a minute. Sweet? Who you calling sweet? You cigarette chomping wabbit.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 06:34 am
LOL! Thought that might energise you some!
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 06:47 am
There is probably a mathematical ratio between an individual's tolerance for boredom and that individual's greed/need for Once Read Books.

As a child in elementary school and high school, I spent a lot of time being bored and I swore mighty oaths that when I grew up, I would never be bored again.

As part of this pledge to myself, I hoard books.

The older I get, the easier it is to bundle up books and deliver them to a good home. I've accepted the harsh facts of life: my loyalities to individual books are limitless. My bookshelves are implacably finite. Further, books-in-boxes (in my case stored in Mouse Country) aren't really truly books anymore.

Roberta--

On the encyclopedia--perhaps it could find a new home in an elementary school? Last week the local paper printed a letter by a dumpster-diving 5th grade teacher who had salvaged an old encyclopedia and an unabridged dictionary for his classroom library. His students--who were from print-deprived homes--were thrilled. They felt like budding intellectuals.

In any case, you have my deepest sympathies.
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SealPoet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 08:09 am
I can just see Scarlett O'Hara holding up a beet saying "I swear as God is my witness I'll never be bored again..."
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Slappy Doo Hoo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 09:29 am
I'm the same way with cd's. I have so many now, and I have a bunch I've never even listened to. But I can't get rid of any of them, even the sucky ones.
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onyxelle
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 09:35 am
dlowan...i do and i love it...their daddy acts the stuff out..he's a fool.
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colorbook
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 09:51 am
I have the same attachment. Four years ago I moved and I had mountains of books. I sorted them into piles and then more piles again. I just simply could not decide which ones to let go. Finally after much debate, I packed up a box and dropped it off at a thrift store. The other books were packed up and brought to my new home.

My Mother reads them once and then gives the books away. I like to read my favorites over and over. She doesn't understand this. Am I the only one?
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kirsten
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 10:56 am
Are you familiar with www.bookcrossing.com ?
Think it's a pretty neat idea, though I have yet to do it. Smile
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 11:53 am
I've sold probably 5000 books over the past decade. I'm back up to 2 or 3000. I know it's time to work them over. Get the shelves back to single layers. BUT I HATE DOING IT. I love my friends.

I do like the Bookcrossing idea a lot. Registered, and I'm printing up some labels to do some 'releases'. It's making me feel better about getting rid of my companions.

The school idea for reference materials and literature is a great idea. I suppose I could do a 'release' at a school library!
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 12:04 pm
colorbook, I also like to reread books that I have enjoyed in the past. However, to be honest, that's only happend less than a half dozen times in my 68 years of life on this planet. We're also guity of 'keeping our books.' Wink
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 12:44 pm
Seal Poet--

Except that the person making that ardent vow was rather bony with brown hair and thick glasses, you've captured the passion. Unlike Scarlett, I try to avoid postponing dismal thoughts until "tomorrow"--but I sometimes sabotage myself.

eBeth--

School libraries generally want up-to-date. School classrooms, on the other hand, are happy for what they can get. Individual kids are probably even happier.
I remember a neighbor kid--13 years old--being absolutely delighted by a year old almanac. It would be the first book in his house.
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Lorna
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 01:22 pm
Meet another book addict...and, being a student, it's not a hard thing to be. I have boxes upon boxes and shelves upon shelves of books...I refuse to part with any of them, or sell them...books remind me of the time in which I read them, and since I'm all about nostalgia I can't let go of any... Very Happy

L
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