I have this crazy idea to reduce my book collection. As a word lover, it makes sense that I own many books. And it seems crazy that I would let any go!
As the years have passed by, each year I come up with various ideas to keep my book purchases to a minimum. Such as, only use the library. Or read the books I have on my bookshelves. But then a friend recommends a book, or I see a cover and title that catches my eye at the bookstore.
I have noticed the older I become, the less I read. I guess it’s easier to watch Netflix or scroll the internet. But even if my rate of reading books has decreased, my passion for them remains. To let a book go, I weigh my emotional attachments with my rationale for keeping one in my possession.
One book series reminds me of a season, when I read fiction for leisure. Another stack recalls my desire to read everything I could about writing. I have books for reference, for reading and for re-purposing into collage and mixed-media projects. There’s a row of children’s books that I can’t bring myself to part with.
Books related to my faith, books from my college days. Books to learn a craft, books about a couple boys traveling on a raft. Vintage books and new paperbacks. Books, books, so many books that I could never read. Some I’ve read, some not. Some I keep, because they were important at certain time in my life. Others I let go, because I started and never finished them. Some I can give-away because I’ve never read them and never will.
All of this sorting, keeping or giving away takes so much courage and energy. I’m trying to be gentle with myself, as I say good-bye to volumes that I cherished at one time. And then I remember what my mom tells me, “Whenever you let something go, it has the potential to be a blessing for someone else.” Letting go of so many books feels crazy, but at the same time a true relief. The belief that these books could be a blessing to others, just like they have been for me, helps me release them one by one, box by box.
How do you know when you need to let something go?
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours. (Psalm 128:2 NIV)