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Why Is It So Painful to Part with Books?

 
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 02:03 pm
Every once in a while, I have an intense need to look up some passage. I dash, wild-eyed, and scan the shelves (we're up to about a dozen bookcases), and FIND IT! It's there!!! I open the book, find the very passage, and sink happily into the couch.

This doesn't happen often, but often enough that I can't stand the thought of getting rid of something that I will then have the "MUST LOOK UP!!" jones for in the future. Several months ago (I forget the trigger) it was "Alpha Centauri" (hey, was that here?), a book that had barely survived previous purges. I re-read it, happily, remembering reading it the first time as a 12-year-old (or so) and was generally so glad I hadn't gotten rid of it.
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sozobe
 
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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 02:04 pm
It was here!

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=304154#304154
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dlowan
 
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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 02:25 pm
I re-read - less than I used to, since the advent of the computer - in fact, I READ less, sadly....but I have some books that must be re-read every few years....and books for when I am really sick, or really stressed.....

I am about to get rid of some of my English I books - well, only the non-classic (old or new) plays - no poetry or novels or history or any of that...

Actually, odd books of mine often come in handy for reference and such for friends when they write plays or music dramas - or direct plays.

At this very moment it is driving me nutso that I cannot find my book on the brain - for the language and thought thread...I often cannot find things I want because my shelves are totally unclassified. I found seventeenth century poetry in the recipe shelf, when I was looking for starter recipes for the Portal!
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 02:26 pm
dlowan- I LOVE serendipity!
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Thomas
 
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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 02:26 pm
Re: Why Is It So Painful to Part with Books?
Roberta wrote:
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?

It's a survival strategy through which books save their wicked little souls until the next round of house-cleaning. My own books work through two channels. One, I have a large number of books, 90 percent of which I know I'll never read again. But which 90 percent? There's no way to tell until after the fact. As it happens, one more book in a shelf doesn't harm me, but one more book I need to look up but have thrown away is a major annoyance. So I keep them all. (And they're out of print too, in case you want to buy a new copy!)

The second of my books' survival strategies is even more clever. I know I can easily throw away 20 books. But again: which 20 books? The only way to find out is to give each a quick browse, then make the choice. The problem is that one of them -- usually the third one or so -- inevitably grabs my attention, and so I spend the whole afternoon reading books, not throwing them away.

I loathe this intellectual tarpit situation so much that I've simply given up throwing books away. Whenever my appartment gets too small to hold my current library, I just move into a bigger appartment. My next move is scheduled for next year.
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sozobe
 
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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 02:33 pm
Re: Why Is It So Painful to Part with Books?
Thomas wrote:
But which 90 percent?


Hee hee! Yes, that is it, exactly.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 02:33 pm
That is sooo cute, Sozobe!!!!

On Abuzz, I seem to have Aa enraptured with my recollections of a couple of lovely childhood books - leastways she searched for them - but they were not to be fond, I opine.

Sharing books is wondrous, no?

Let me share a tragedy. Well, TWO!

In the same week, when I was a weelowan, I had sorted my books - one lot to go to charity - the other to move with me when I changed rooms - my treasures - the books I could not bear to be apart from. The two boxes were clearly labelled, in childish Weelowan script. I came home and found my father had not bothered to read the labels, and had taken the wrong box. That still hurts, a little.

THEN - I got home from school a few days later, and my mother had taken ALL my toys - including special ones and the ones I was keeping that were my sister's (who had died a couple of years before) and given THEM to charity - without any consultation with me. Really, it was too much....

I replaced a lot of the classic kids books later - and still have them.
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sozobe
 
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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 02:34 pm
Oh, that is horrible.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 02:35 pm
serendipity - hmmmm - perhaps if I become fixated on looking for something else, I shall find the brain book.....?
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Roberta
 
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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 03:42 pm
Lot's of interesting and thought-provoking comments, most of which I can relate to.

Thomas, I wish I could just expand my residence whenever I ran out of room. I have a rent-stabilized apartment in NYC. I'll be here till the building crumbles--or I do.

I'm thinking that books are so personal because the images that we create in our heads as we read are unique to us. We actively participate in being transported and in the creative process.

And I assume that everyone who has participated in this thread places a high value on the written word.

Montana, You think that books we read become part of us. True, but I think we also become part of them.

Yes, Seal, Old friends indeed.

Phoenix, An interesting analogy to old photos. Books are part of our personal history and part of who we are.

Onyxelle, No doubt your kids will love to read. When you place such a high value on books, how can they not?

Deb querida, Yes, an addiction and without the disastraous side effects of most addictions. I was sad to read about how you lost your books when you were a child.

Noddy, You might be right about the ratio between boredom tolerance and reading. It's almost impossible to be bored when you have a good book--or even a trashy one--as a companion. As for the set of encyclopedias, it's gone. I usually leave unwanted books in the basement of my buidling. They often disappear without being tossed out. I have a feeling that my encyclopedia found a good home nearby.

Slappy, Even the sucky ones?

colorbook, I rarely reread something, although this past year I did a bit of rereading--for the first time in many years. If my memory fades sufficiently, I'm sure I'll do more of it. If I wait long enough, it's almost like reading something for the first time.

Lorna, When I was a student, I felt exactly as you do. I'll never part with any of them. But I live in a one-bedroom apartment. Space in here is finite. Something had to give. Before I sold those 500 books a few years back, I had books under the bed, in the closets, in drawers, two deep on shelves, on top of evey surface. I had to do something.

Soz, How I relate to "I just have to look something up." Have to--and do.

Thomas, Which 90 percent? I have to laugh. You're exactly right. Impossible to predict. I'm sure that the minute some of these books are gone, I'll need or want to look for something or reread one of them. And, yes, it's a danger to start looking through a book. Four hours later you look up and wonder where the day went.

One additional thought on the subject. I feel a bond with the author. If I like a writer, chances are I have everything that he or she ever wrote. And it is not possible to part with one and keep the others. NOT POSSIBLE.
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Lorna
 
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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2003 03:42 pm
sozobe wrote:
Every once in a while, I have an intense need to look up some passage. I dash, wild-eyed, and scan the shelves (we're up to about a dozen bookcases), and FIND IT! It's there!!! I open the book, find the very passage, and sink happily into the couch.


Sozobe,

That's my excuse too, and I've won lots of bets because I have the evidence on my shelves...lol

Dlowan,

Serendipity is a wonderful thing, I live by it!

Another thing is, I highlight and underline stuff...so all my books are well, mine...with notes in the margins. And I'd like to keep all my books for my future kids, so they'll come to me and say..'what were you thinking when you read this?'

This is a lovely thread to read through...

L Very Happy
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mahlah
 
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Reply Sat 29 Nov, 2003 07:31 am
I love just keeping the books so i can how my reading has changed, and when they're all neat and tidy (which is rarely!) on the book shelf, i feel proud that i've read such a variety of books. My house is small and i have more books then a place to store them so most are just piled everywhere. My dream is to build wall to ceiling bookshelfs so i can just stroll around and grab books! Like someone said before, books we've read and collected are like photo's that we've took...its part of us.
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