Oh my! Somehow, I wasn’t surprised. Lots of folks share my book problems and/or pleasures. Judging from the responses to my last post, many of us accumulate books without much thinking about it.
I had such good New Year’s resolutions, but I’m not doing very well on the ‘harness the book-buying impulse’ one. That’s largely because I enrolled in a Poetry Workshop, and every Tuesday night I hear about a new (to me) poet that I simply must read, or I recall one I loved years ago and. . .you fill in the blanks. I’m getting most of those at least started as soon as they come into the house. Still, they are adding to the stack.
Which leads to another of my resolutions—‘one book in, one book out.’ I’m doing better there; not really good, but better. Leading, yes, to another problem that I mentioned last time. What do I do with them? Where do they go?
Some of you had suggestions. Here’s a new one to me—but I’m not sure if it’s going to solve the problem of too many books in too little space. There is a website http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php where you can list the books you no longer want and exchange them for ones that you do. All you are out is the postage when you mail out one of yours. I haven’t signed up—yet. I’m afraid I’m going to hit the same old problem; I’m going to find more books I want than books I’m willing to give up.
Amber Starfire tells me that she’ll list a book on Amazon when she is sure that she’s not going to read it again. She has great discipline because she only keeps one year of magazines.
I’ve never sold a book at Amazon, but I have toted some down to used books stores. People tell me that these stores pay so little that it’s hardly worth the effort. There are, though, some advantages to quantity. We loaded up the back of the Jeep and hauled enough books over to our nearby Half-Price Books that we then strolled across the street and had a fine dinner at an upscale restaurant on the proceeds. Everyone won. We had dinner, the bookstore got new inventory, and someone who wanted to read one of those books was be able to buy it at a reasonable price. I like that.
My old friend from growing up days, Linda, suggests she likes hanging on to her books, and I like the way she thinks. Linda is an artist and she has a huge collection of art books and catalogs. She recounted how she was able to pull one out for a friend who asked about an artist-relative. Not long after Linda shared her story, I had a similar experience. One evening a dinner guest mentioned a two-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. Was she ever impressed when with a minimum of searching I produced both volumes? Linda, you are right!
Still, some of them have to go. While I may sell some, I’m falling back on my old habit of giving them to the library. The Houston Public Library system is so big, they always welcome books, and we have a branch only a few blocks away. The library is in an old church and sometimes parking is tight. I wait until I find a free spot in front where I won’t have to lug the books too far before I leave off the perpetual ‘sack on the backseat.’
One day I asked Bob to perform the errand for me since he was driving right by; when he got home he announced that it had cost us six bucks to donate books. I thought I’d warned him, but, clearly my warning had not been sufficient. When he didn’t find a place in the front parking lot or nearby on the street, he turned into the parking building, found a good place and then whipped in with the books and right back out, only to find that it’s pay parking in the building. Ouch. We figured more than a dollar a minute.
In the future, we’ll clearly mark a sack as donations and drop it in the curbside book return when there is no parking.