The trouble with books

Today, as I took my life into my hands by going into our over-crowded little storage room, something occurred to me – as I moved piles and boxes of books around.

I hate books as gifts.

This sounds strange, I know.  And I may have offended several friends and family members by typing that out.  I mean no offense – a book does seem like a good purchase for me. I love to read, I love books.  In fact, if my Kindle hadn’t run out of battery, I would have still been curled up on the couch reading instead of moving piles of books about the storage room in a desperate attempt to liberate Christmas decorations, cursing profusely as things fell onto my feet and I kept catching my side on the doorknob.

But I hate books as a gift.

I never realized this until today – but it makes sense.  I am very picky about what I read, what I like to read, what books I want to store.  To me, nothing is more useless than a book sitting on my shelf that I know I’ll never read again.  But I also have a hard time letting go of books, in case they might be re-read someday.  Which is why, despite purging boxes upon boxes of books when we moved, we ended up moving boxes and boxes of books.

Books we don’t have room for.

Books that sit in that over-stuffed storage room, taking up space that’s needed for other things.  Books on how to organize, purge, coach soccer, homeschool, program in some geeky language that’s been outdated for five years.  Children’s books, fiction books, non-fiction books, school books.  Books my kids outgrew but I saved because the younger one may want to read it one day.

Now we live in a space that won’t tolerate an over-stuffedness of books.  Which is why I caved and got a Kindle.  We have books out, I still have my customary pile of books next to the bed, but reality is, most of the books we’re storing?  We don’t need, or really want.

I think the burden of having to home all these books are seeping the joy out of them.  Once, I enjoyed having bookcases bursting all over my house.  If anything, they said “Hey, we’re smart!” – because once, I was smart – before the children sucked the life out of my brain cells.  But now?  I see a stuffed bookcase, books falling off and disorganized and think “Man, we could use that space for other things…”  Or I see all the boxes of books in the storage room and think “Wow, we can’t even get to those to open, let alone read one of the books in there.”

It’s time to take control.  Send all the books we can to a charity shop, where someone else can take them home and love them.  Clear up the space in the storage room to safely pack away the Great Books collection that was my grandparents, that Maura is drawn to like a moth to flame.  Put out the books we love and read again and again so we can actually read them again and again.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to get me a bookish gift, maybe an Amazon gift card would be better suited for our current lifestyle?  Well, if I haven’t offended you too much already 😉