Monday, July 30, 2012

Path to Minimalism: The Book Dilemma

I love books. I hate clutter. I hate e-readers.
I will never part with my Diana Gabaldon books!
Do you see a problem here? These competing statements mean that I go back and forth...I’ll purge my books, then I’ll ask for more for Christmas or my birthday, just to have to purge them again. It is a cycle that I just can’t avoid! I won’t buy an e-reader because I hate them. The reason for that is an e-reader has no personality. Books, with their cover art, typeface, and page layouts, have character. They go with the story. When I’m reading a good book, it becomes my best friend for a while. I invest myself, emotionally, into the world that is enclosed in the pages. I can even remember where I read a book. For example, I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being in my host family’s apartment in Russia when I was 20 and I read Dragonfly in Amber at a Double Tree hotel in Omaha, NE when I was 15. I can picture myself in these locations with the book in my hand. I love recalling these moments, it is one of life’s small treasures.
So what to do? I can’t deny myself the joy a physical book brings to my life. But I also don’t want to accumulate a huge amount of books right now. I have no where to put them!
Well, I decicded to donate some of them again. Not the books I reread every so often, of course, such as the Outlander series or Harry Potter books. Instead, I will donate the ones I know I won’t read again.
This time, I took my used books to Books for America. They build and support libraries and schools in the DC area as well as support reading programs. I stopped by their store recently to see what kind of selection they have. I was surprised to see that they practically have everything - including a book about the Pskovian Russian Icons (in Russian even!). So, if I really want to buy a book instead of check one out from the library, I can do so at Books for America at a reasonable price - most books are around $2 and they are in great condition.
I’m happy to report that they took all of the books I brought them (two bags full) - so now the books I decided to keep actually fit nicely on the shelves!


  1. You could always go to the library! If I DO buy a book (and I rarely do, I always wait for christmas or birthdays) I buy them from a used book store. Same quality, but way cheaper!

  2. The one area that I have avoided on our quest to minimalism. P reads on his ipad. Kenzi as a kindle. I LOVE BOOKS! I have removed four tubs from the school room recently, but have so much more that *should* go. I will have to post about it, so I can have at least one fellow book lover to be on my side and comment to show P what a big deal it is when I FINALLY go through with it. Moving to Japan and downsizing will be the end of me--or my book collection, at least. ;)

  3. This is the one area that I haven't even touched on our quest to a so-far unreachable minimalist house (try that with seven people and a dog!). P reads on his ipad. Kenzi has a kindle. I LOVE BOOKS. I did recently remove four tubs of items out of the school room (not all books, but a lot) and have so many more that I *should* let go of. There is just something about the comfort of all the straight lines on a shelf. All the possibilities. Moving to Japan and downsizing will be the end of me (or at least of my book collection). I've made progress in recent years, still have a lot to go. Maybe I'll need to post about it, that way I have a fellow book lover that can comment and tell P what a big deal it is when I finally do it. ;)

    1. Tell your hubby that I'm on your side! Getting rid of beloved books is sooo hard! I'm currently re-reading the Outlander series (for the 3rd or 4th time, I know!). Those are books that are must-own for me. Others, not so much.

      I love the library, but there is something about owning certain books. I'm with you: I LOVE BOOKS!