The apartment I share with my family looks ransacked, my nerves (and others’, too, actually) are shot, and curses and moans about why we have so much stuff can be heard at least ten times a day.
Yep, we are moving.
It took me three days (with interruptions), ten boxes, and back twinges to pack all the 400+ books I own. I haven’t even started on other personal items yet, i.e. stuff in my drawers etc.
I probably own close to 600 books in total if you count all my books – books in English, German, and Korean, some handful (50+) volumes of mangas/manhwas.
Prior to all the packing, I donated 120+ books that were in German or English to a local organization that accepts donated books and sells them, creating and giving work for people who receive social welfare.
And still I had so many books to pack… and as I was packing my non-English books (because all 500 of them were hand-picked by me in the recent years), I noticed a recurring theme: I was keeping the (German & Korean) books because of my history with them, because of the memories I have of reading them. I probably was never going to read them again, but I just couldn’t bring myself to give them away. To severe every tie I have with the books that bring me so many fond memories.
(To a lesser extent there were books I received as gifts and couldn’t justify giving them away.)
But this got me thinking: Why should I hoard all these books when all I’m going to do with them is to look at them twice a year or something, and nothing more?
Now, there is nothing wrong with keeping all your books. But recently I’ve started to realize that I actually don’t like keeping all the books.
I hate throwing away books in perfect conditions; I just detest the idea of wasting what could give another person comfort, inspiration, entertainment. I used to give away English books that I didn’t wish to keep or read to a friend. Then, starting last year, I sold two boxfuls of books for the ridiculous prices this one company offered – about 40 Cents a piece on average, I believe. And a couple of weeks ago, I donated two more boxfuls of books.
While I was doing this, I did feel an occasional pang about some books because I had enjoyed reading them (just didn’t wish for a re-read), and now they would slowly fade away from my memory. I became greedy; I agonized over some books whether I really wanted to give them away even though I knew I’d probably never re-read them again. Because over the time, no quotes, no impressions, no feelings about them would remain.
I will very probably give away or sell another box or two or three filled with books I do not wish to keep. But for the next time, I want every book that leaves my hand to be somehow documented – on this blog, preferably. Very often I am either over- or underwhelmed by a new read to write long, thoughtful reviews on them. But it’s okay to write short, fleeting impressions about them, too. Or a handful of quotes. Even about those that I am sure (for now) they are keepers. Because you never know when your resolve will change. I’m a fickle person; my opinions change, my feelings fade, my thoughts become forgotten.