Parting is such sweet sorrow

You might be surprised to learn that here at DGLM we’ve got a lot of books. A ton of books. So many books that we’re tripping over them, ducking so that we don’t get hit by them falling from teetering towers, and constantly moving and re-shelving them to make space for the books that just keep arriving.

So that we don’t suffocate in the inevitable glut of paper and ink (the office isn’t that big, guys), there’s a lot of nice donating that goes on around here. A few times a year I get to pack up a whole bunch of old books and inventory them with the help of a few trusty interns and send them off to places where they’ll go to good use.

That’s an easy solution for a place with so many books, but what to do with your own personal collection? I know we’re already out of room in my apartment—even with two giant bookcases, the extras are starting to pile up in interesting places on the floor, on chairs, on tables and under things. There’s even a giant bag my roommate and I filled over a year ago with “books we don’t care about, have doubles of or don’t want anymore,” yet it’s still sitting there, cumbersome and in the way.

It’s hard to let go of a book, even if it’s one I know I’ll never read again or never liked very much in the first place. There are memories and associations paired with each and every one, whether or not they have anything to do with the actual story or content. The same goes for clothes and shoes—whether they no longer fit, are falling apart (often my case with shoes), or are dreadfully, woefully hideous beyond any comprehension and I have no idea when or why I ever wore such a thing. Still, it’s painful to part with them.

I’m not a pack rat or a hoarder, it’s easy for me to nonchalantly discard most anything else, but donating books seems difficult. They need to go to the right place, to a place where they’ll be appreciated again and not just thrown in the corner. Right? Does it matter? What do you do with your spares and excess? Do you take them to secondhand shops, give them to people you think might enjoy them, or, and I shudder, just throw them in the trash? What other options are there?

Latest boxes off for donation!



7 Responses to Parting is such sweet sorrow

  1. Melissa says:

    Seriously? I get digital copies and sell the hard copies to secondhand stores. I’d MUCH rather have a digital copy!

  2. D.C. DaCosta says:

    I dislike giving away anything that:
    a) I want to read again (but know I’ll never get around to)
    b) I respect (Churchill, Dickens, Twain)
    c) I think I may someday want to use in research

    Beyond that…well…

    I attended a conference of writers of a certain genre. On the sign-in table were “free books” (paperbacks). Being a cheapskate, I took my share. Once I got them home, I read no more than four pages — at random — in each before throwing all 12 of them into the recycling bin.

    Books have no value per se.

  3. I’ve donated books to my library many times. They always seem happy to get them. I can’t imagine throwing out a book!

  4. Julie Nilson says:

    The library system in our small suburb takes donations. They don’t usually add many donated books to the collection, but the other books then go into the GINORMOUS used book sale they hold every year to raise funds for the library. Teachers get a discount. It’s fabulous.

  5. Susanna says:

    I’m in Colorado, and our basement flooded a little in our recent downpours. To save the bookcases themselves, we had to swiftly unload the books and carry them upstairs. With some shelves overflowing or doubled up, this was the last straw — we downsized 7 boxes of books and some videos. We parted with cruddy editions (except my annotated ones), books we’ll really not read again, and classics that we can easily repurchase used or immediately download for free in e-editions. We gave them to Goodwill, because I love finding great bargains there. (My favorite day was when three books I picked up from different sections were all signed from the same person’s collection – clearly, my reading soulmate!)

  6. I donate them to my library or send them to goodwill. But it is hard to get rid of books, and I’ll often have a box sitting around for awhile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>