I moved into my studio apartment in May of 2008. When I made that move, I downsized my book collection. This past weekend, I took the next step: getting rid of all but a handful of books. Extreme? Maybe. Maybe not.
For the longest time, I’ve had this fantasy of living so simply that if I had to move all of a sudden or if I wanted to run away to Key West, I could pack up the car and the cat and just go. Even though this fantasy may never come to fruition, it’s still a comforting one for me to have (control issues, maybe? Leave me alone).
Thanks to my Nook, whatever book I want or need is just a click away. The few books I may keep — and I’m not even sure I will — are books that I re-read and that have some sentimental significance like Anne Lamott’s book for writers, Bird by Bird. I have a couple of signed books that I wouldn’t necessarily keep if they weren’t signed (but I kinda feel I have to).
I’ve filled a box full of books that I’ve read (around 50-ish), and I’ve lined my few remaining shelves with the books I haven’t read yet, but that I’m determined I will (I recently picked up The Memory Keeper’s Daughter as a result of this downsizing and simplifying urge).
Of these books, I don’t see myself wanting to keep any of them, no matter how good they are. Into the box they’ll go as I read them (except for the three that I’ve borrowed — Colleen and Dawn, if you’re reading this, don’t worry!).
And I’m not going to waste my time, either…if I can’t get into a book after 50 pages, into the box it will go. The only book that’s currently in the box that I haven’t read is Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated, which I’ve tried reading on three separate occasions over four years. It just ain’t happening for me. I’m sure this is a personal defect on my part.
Please don’t get me wrong: I love books. But the definition of a “book,” to me, isn’t the vessel that contains the words. Books mean stories. Some true. Some not. I can get those stories in one convenient place now and fuel my run-away fantasy at the same time.
How ’bout you? Have you downsized your book collection at all, or will you if/when you get a digital e-reader or tablet? Share in the comments.