Kevin Abbott reading
The back page of the NYTBR had a piece this week on the problem of keeping books.
How do you decide what to keep and what to discard, especially in the era of Internet? Why keep what is on the Internet for the asking?
It's a constant concern of ours, wondering if the floors and walls of a 90 year old house can take such abuse. My husband has many thousands of scholarly books that he probably will never open again. And I, well I have my stuff. Like the poetry collection I accumulated when I thought I might write poetry. Or the quilting books from when I took that up. Or the ones on jazz, cookbooks, criticism, artbooks. And the fiction. Mostly the fiction.
I have the proverbial TBR pile, which threatens to bring down our bedroom and several other storage areas. The largest category I keep are the books I love, but will probably never read again. At 35, I could tell myself I would reread Richard Ford, Russell Banks, Josephine Tey, Margaret Millar.
Do I hang on to a tattered copy of The Scarlet Letter from high school? The travel books from the places we've been? Do I define myself by the books I own?
How do you determine what to keep and what to pass on to the used book sale ? Do you have inviolate collections that you would never part with, a second group that might need weeding, a third group that you just feel no affinity for and would toss in a second should the energy arrive?
Or do you just keep buying without much thought to any of this. Ah, youth.