Yes, you can have too many books!
I discovered this when we last moved house; through secretly, I think I always knew it.
As we packed up, I counted my TBR pile of books next to the bed and there were thirty (I must admit, though, they were paperbacks, hardback being bigger and heavier.) That’s when I faced up to the truth; this was actually a PNTBR pile. (Probably Never …)
After being (quite) ruthless), I took five large carrier bags to the charity shop. I’m proud to say, I only skimmed through the book section while I was in the shop and I did leave empty handed.
Once we moved into our present home, I vowed not to get carried away by books again. We still had two full bookshelves. And I had my kindle. And the library.
Oh, the library, it’s a bit like being a grandparent, I imagine, anyway. You get to take home the books you love, enjoy them, then return them to someone else’s shelf! And someone else will come along and enjoy them, too!
Some days, I find choosing library books can be just as agonising as driving around a nearly empty car park and having to decide which space is best. It’s easier when there are only one or two. In the library, I quite often start with the returned shelf, there’s a good variety and, hopefully someone has just enjoyed that book. Sometimes, I wander listlessly between the shelves, selecting and rejecting books for different reasons, and weighed down with a feeling that despite being surrounded by books, there’s nothing I want to read! Other days, I breeze in, find a book straight away, then maybe pick up one or two more either before or just after checking out my first selection. I tend to take out no more than three at a time as I usually pop in at least once a week.
Ah, my kindle! It’s like a security blanket! I’ve always at least two unread books at any given time. I decided to get a kindle when I went on holiday several years ago with a selection of six paperbacks, and I couldn’t get into any of them! On the ferry on the way home, I saw a man reading a kindle. Within a week, I had my own. Now I have at least ten books downloaded before I go anywhere. Even if there is WiFi there. What if it went down?
A few months ago, we had the front room flooring done and it meant unloading and moving out a large bookshelf. I steeled my heart. Not all the books were going to go back on to it! I had some lovely craft books that I now never use. They went to a friend who works with children and she could make good use of them. Some of the other books were quite nice, but…they went in the charity shop bag. A PG Wodehouse that my father and I found absolutely hilarious went straight into the keep pile. A book signed by an author I know - into the keep pile. And several others followed, so the bookshelf is by no means empty.
The other day, as I was waiting by the traffic lights at one of the many roadwork sites around town, my daughter and I had a view of a large front room in a beautiful Victorian house. One wall was ceiling to floor books! It looked magnificent. I’d only ever seen bookshelves like this in National Trust houses or on films before. I must admit, I had a sad feeling that although they looked very impressive, probably most of those books would never be read.
Happy books are books that are read and enjoyed!
That reminds me of the time, that I found one of my own books in the library looking slightly worn. I was so pleased! I felt that people were reading it!
What are your views on books? Are you a borrower or a keeper?