Janie is just as much of a clutterbug as I am, and it occurred to me last night that complaining about the state of her room is useless as long as my side of the master bedroom is worse.
Plus, you know, I have three chapters of Fun Project to finish and needed an excuse for not sitting down and getting to work. Cleaning is traditional for this and hooking it up to parenting makes it sound noble.
It took me two hours. Not because I’m unhygienic—all the laundry piled on and around the rocking chair was clean, thank you—but because I’m a good candidate for Hoarders: Bibliovore edition.*
I was strong. I weeded out the forty I could bear to part with and put them in a bag for donation. The rest are stacked neatly by my alarm clock or have been released into the general population.
A general population that is about to call the Literary Civil Liberties Union to report severe and harmful overcrowding. I’m not exaggerating by much—our books don’t have opposable thumbs, phones, or Internet privileges, but most of our shelves are bearing double rows of paperbacks and a couple lower ones have flat stacks of hardbacks six high.
We can’t keep all of them—okay, we can, but it’s not fair to the books (or the bookcases, if we’re going to go all anthropomorphic). We don’t read half of them—we can’t see half of them. So starting next week, the family is going to hold a good old-fashioned weed ing.
If we can’t see reading it again, out it goes. If we’ve left a series or author behind, out it goes. If it’s an occasional reference book owned by the library, if it’s a duplicate or something I don’t mind reading on a screen, it’s gone.
This is going to hurt. A lot.
But maybe they’ll find good homes, right? Someone will want the 1980 The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (gorgeous cover) . . . or my spare copy of Police Procedurals: A writer’s guide to the police and how they work (1993). Or maybe Gerald’s Game by Stephen King, or Laurell K. Hamilton’s Blood Noir—both in hardback with dust jackets.
Tell you what: pick one, leave a comment, and I’ll mail your choice to you for free. If I don’t have any takers, these poor titles will have to take their chances at the library book sale. And if they aren’t
adopted sold within a certain time period . . .
Do you really want that on your conscience?