In which a hypocrite bibliophile cleans her room

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.

Seventy-six books.  On my nightstand, on the floor by my nightstand, under my bed, on the back of the commode in the bathroom.  Both bathrooms.

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?

10 thoughts on “In which a hypocrite bibliophile cleans her room

  1. I agree. Hard to watch the removal of books, but the Dictionary of Imaginary places does seem fantastic. Glasseye is a lucky ducky. I’ve been told that since I live by a fault line that there is a decent chance I will die when the big one comes by being buried alive by all of my books. I’m kind of okay with that. BTW just stumbled on your blog. Very cool.

    • I think I might have other neat books to offer as I go. I’m sure I have three complete Shakespeares in there somewhere, and I really only need one. Or two.

      And thanks! 🙂

  2. Oh so tragic. May I commiserate with you? I just did the book purge in September before I paced up and ran away to France. I had to get rid of every single one. Sure I have the kindle but I have to tell you that I sold my house, my car, all my furniture and I think the books may have been the hardest to let go.

    So I feel your pain, bon courage my fellow bibliophile…


    • Oh, that’s terrifying! Every single book?

      I’m sure I’ll be making all kinds of excuses for keeping some of them—and reading others “one last time” before I let them go. But it needs to be done, though not for such an interesting reason!

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