December 19, 2011

Cleaning out my library in 2012–Or, “Please, make it stop!”

These are the books on the chopping block

Over the past few years, I’ve managed to acquire a large stack of books that I have yet to read. Most of these arrive through free giveaways (which I simply refuse to turn down)  or from the clearance shelf of the used bookstore. It’s amazing how much more interesting a book looks for $1.00 than for the retail price. I generally won’t buy a book unless I have some interest in reading it, but many of the clearance items fall much lower on my priority list and usually get pushed aside for books that are of more immediate interest.

However, I want to avoid being a hoarder of books (even marginally good ones!) and I want to keep my marriage healthy. Laura is very gracious and certainly knows the joy of a good bargain, but she is rightly frustrated with the growing  number of unread books while I continue to acquire others and read them instead. I’ve always argued that there is a benefit to having books at home and encouraging reading in our family, but we should probably be intentional about the books that we hang onto and ensure that we’re encouraging the reading of worthwhile books. Let’s face it, though. Many of these books, even the good ones, do not need to be kept around. It would be better to read them, gain what can be gained, and pass them on to someone else. This is what I’ve decided to do.

Over the next year, my plan is to read the unread and then, with the exception of books that I deem as truly useful for future reference, I’m going to pass them on. I’ll be giving some of them away on this blog, some to my brother (a fellow bibliophile), and some to whomever else wants them. I also plan to post some kind of review of each of them, the substance of which will vary depending on how thorough a read the book gets. The main point of this blog is to keep me accountable to follow through with the plan, which at this point involves reading and disposing of 63 books.

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