I went through two boxes of books today, and I found it really difficult to decide which ones to keep and which ones to give to the library or to Goodwill. If we had room (lots of room!) for bookshelves, this wouldn't be as much of a problem. However, we have a tiny house, and I read a lot. I keep most of my books in boxes--at least the ones that aren't piled on desks and dressers and other flat surfaces. As I opened those two boxes today, I realized I had forgotten that I owned most of the books in them. It was fun to rediscover them, to reminisce about them, but after the initial excitement, I really didn't know what to do with them. How do I know which ones to keep and which to give away? All of my books are important to me. The only one I can ever remember getting rid of was my copy of The English Patient, which I sold to one of my fellow teaching assistants in graduate school because I was starving and didn't have any cash for Taco Bell. (I didn't care for the book, so the decision to sell it was an easy one.)
Yes, I'm truly at a loss as to what to do with the hundreds of books in those boxes. I know that I'll keep the ones I absolutely love--like the Shakespeare and the Milton and the books written by my favorite modern authors. But I don't know what to do with the others. Will I read any of them again? It's unlikely. I read more than a hundred books each year, and I've realized as I've grown older that I don't have time to reread--not when there are so many good books out there. That fact should make my decision easy--get rid of all of them--but it doesn't. I just love being surrounded by books. Having them around brings me comfort, even if I never open their covers again.
So my question remains--and I'm no closer to an answer.