I have a problem.
Well, I have a lot of problems, but this is a specific problem. I have these books. Actually, I probably have a thousand of them, but most of them are not a problem. Most of them are beloved members of the household. But these…I’m not so sure about these.
Here’s what happened. Today I was inspired to take every single thing out of the kids room (I promise to share the result of that one later, but as you’ll see in a minute it’s still a work in progress) and also the upstairs landing. To rearrange, and dust, and sort, and recreate according to a new vision.
During the process, I took all the books off the bookshelves. For one thing, they needed it. For another, I can’t move the bookshelves with books on them, and there was much furniture moving going on. (I don’t expect to be able to move tomorrow.)
I’ll sort the kids’ books, get them in on it, give away some and keep most. That’s not the problem. This is the problem:
Not the kids’ books, but the piles under them and behind them. And even more so, this:
Tons of genre mysteries. A full collection of every Shopaholic book except the last. (I still maintain that the first “Shopaholic” book was one of the best-structured novels I’ve ever read.) Lots of chicklit (I know, some people don’t like the term, but these really do fit that bill). A smattering of sci-fi and fantasy.
Some of this there’s no question about. I’ll read Dorothy Sayers’ books again. The Asey Mayos are out of print; they’re not going anywhere. But then there are the more questionable cases. Books that were once the kind of thing I’d re-read (Ngaio Marsh, Carolyn Hart, Ruth Rendell) that I now don’t want to. Will I, when I have more time on my hands again? I used to go through a book a night, easy. That was years ago. But in those days, I munched these down like popcorn. Comforting popcorn. Familiar popcorn. I can see that I might need that comfort someday in the future. But how deep do my shelves of comfort need to be?
As for Shopaholic and her sisters, I’m done. I can’t imagine I’ll find any comfort there when I am old (and there is always the Kindle for those). But is there something to be said for keeping them on the shelves for exploring kids? I read so much from my parents’ shelves (some of it utterly inappropriate) when I was young. I learned tons. The less I understood, the more I learned. But will any of my kids really prowl through my paperbacks? How much do I hang onto on the off chance?
I know my kids aren’t the kid I was. But I do hope one of them will share my reading jones (well, really I hope all of them will). And I will keep those shelves packed with anything that might encourage them (including my full childhood set of Trixie Belden, a good assortment of the Happy Hollisters, and an ancient, well-read copy of Anne of Green Gables, among other things). But I suspect I probably don’t need all those Anne Perrys. But I do need the Marjorie Allinghams!
I’m having a really hard time figuring out where to draw the line.
Anyone want to come help?