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In Which We Learn Why I Will One Day Be Crushed to Death by Old Newspapers

I looked at my bookshelves over the weekend and thought ‘…I can’t get rid of any of these.’

I’m something of a minor hoarder. On the few occasions I’ve seen one of those shows (I have Netflix Instant and refuse to pay for cable), when I hear the ever-ready “No, I might need that someday,” issuing forth from one of the deranged people who apparently thinks she might “need” a ceramic statue of a basset hound some day in the future, well, it sounds familiar. Because yes, my shelves are rapidly filling up with more unread than read books, so it’s somewhat justifiable not to throw out the unread ones, but the read books I own I like! You know, at least kind of. And what if one day I’m feeling particularly in the mood for a few pages of one of those books, but – ! I remember that I’ve given it away, and therefore that itch shall remain unscratched!

Okay, when it’s written out, I guess that would just be a minor inconvenience and not that big a deal, but it still remains nigh impossible for me to get rid of any books.

I blame my mother for this. A few years back, she and her friend, who did interior design and was as impressive a personality as my mother, decided to clear some things out from the house. On one memorable occasion, the friend held up some item that had no clear use, to which my mother shouted “No! I need that! I—“ only to have the pitiless friend drop it on the floor and break it, rendering the argument pointless.

I probably need someone like this. Only they’d swiftly shuttle the books to an undisclosed location rather than tear them apart, as the latter would be distressing.

This is all the more reason to try to get through more of the books on my shelves. Then I can maybe get rid of some. This weekend in my Easter basket I received Red Emma Speaks: An Emma Goldman Reader, and my mother lent me her copy of Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God, as we’re reading it in my church’s small group. So that’s two more right there. I need to place some kind of moratorium on books. I did this with DVDs one year and lasted until August (I also have a DVD-buying compulsion). The best thing, as far as I can figure it, is to just add things to your Amazon wishlist, and keep checking it every so often. You’ll slowly delete things that would have been impulse purchases, and finally whittle it down to the ones you actually still want after however many months.

Of course, my birthday’s next month (COUGH COUGH) and I tend to be rather generous towards myself at that time. So this might not work so well.

But no matter! Ever onward! This shall be conquered and I shall end up with a reasonable number of books that will not be the slightest pain to pack up in boxes and move! This is the goal and it shall come to pass. And if it doesn’t, I’m paying someone else to move my stuff, because I’m not carrying those boxes again.


  1. My first thought was, "Hmm. I am the same way."
    My second thought was, "Why didn't I get an Easter basket containing books?!"

  2. @chambanachik Well, did you ASK the Easter Bunny for them?

    Of course, my method of 'asking' was ordering it for myself using my parents' Amazon account and having it shipped to them.


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