Get to Know Me Monday – No. 4

I Don’t Collect Books

Back in the day I surrounded myself with piles of books. There were books on every flat surface, including the floor. There were stacks on shelves, piles on my dresser, and a heap on my nightstand. I mean, that’s what book lovers do, right?

One day, when my kids were small, I decided that enough was enough. I recall telling my husband that if I didn’t do something soon we’d have nowhere to keep the children. I started boxing up books and taking them to local thrift stores, giving them to friends, or donating them to the local library for their used book sale.

That was probably 15 years ago. Since then I’ve gotten more creative in the ways I keep books under control. One of the best decisions I ever made was to put up a Little Free Library in front of my house. I get to share books with my community, and keep them from piling up around me. When my own library is full I drive around to add books to the others in town.

I’ve had to fight against the impulse to prove my book loving bona fides by starting up a collection again. I feel (self-imposed?) pressure to demonstrate my love of reading by having large and lovely stacks in the background of every photo. (All the cool kids are doing it! I want to be popular on Instagram! Will publishers send me books if I don’t share evidence of my devotion!?)

Let me remind you, and myself, that we can do books however we want. Read 4 or 400 books a year, collect a few favorites or make large pieces of furniture out of the excess novels in your house. It doesn’t matter how full or empty your shelves are. I love books. You love books. No proof required.

15 thoughts on “Get to Know Me Monday – No. 4

  1. I don’t collect books either! I have one full bookshelf, but I haven’t added to it in quite a while. I read digitally for the most part- it’s the most convenient way for me. Part of the allure of me getting an e-reader almost a decade ago (WTF) was that I was out of physical storage space. I’ve also passed on ARCs to Little Free Libraries in the neighborhood (the spoils of my one BEA adventure- if I ask for ARCs now it’s always an e-galley.) My son’s book collection on the other hand… Yikes. We have SO MANY KID BOOKS and I keep buying more. He’s got a full bookshelf, a full book cart, and a full level of the former changing table.

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    1. It’s funny that you mention your son’s collection because I’m forever sending books to my grandson. Hmm, I’ve never considered what I’m doing to my daughter’s home, ha ha ha ha.

      Another thing that will keep me from collecting is that my eyes are getting old. Soon I won’t be able to read something that doesn’t allow for font adjustments!

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  2. I’ve gone through a similar cycle. I acquired so many books when I was in college from every wonderful bookstore I encountered. Books were a comfort to have around. Many I still haven’t read. A few years back though I realized I had more books than my tiny apartment could stand. I’ve been slowly getting rid of books that I’m realistically never going to read or never read again. And I’ve become more conscientious about what books I buy in physical format. I still have a lot of books, but it feels a little better to have ones I love rather than just an assortment.

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  3. Absolutely! I had a book-pileup crisis about ten years ago, and whittled both my physical book pile and my TBR (physical and virtual) WAY down. Now, I only keep books that I know I will want to read multiple times, or which have some sentimental value, and I periodically cull from there too as sentiment changes. And I don’t buy books generally unless I know they’re ones I want to keep – we have such an amazing library system here that I tend to go that route instead!

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  4. I do collect books. I am not ashamed of it either. I love having books around the house. It makes me feel complete. I used to keep my collection really small because we moved too often and didn’t have a lot of room for books in general. Not having books I hadn’t yet read on hand always made me nervous. I can recognize that I might have overcompensated once we stopped moving every year and I got into a big house. Still, I don’t regret packing up so many boxes of books, even if I will be purging once I get around to unpacking them.

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  5. I did find it interesting to see Michelle’s photo on Instagram of her book collection and then your post here, for opposing views. I’m with you, though, Jennifer, and I work in a library so I guess I should like more books around me, but I don’t. I keep a few favorites and that’s it.

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  6. After numerous moves I’ve given up on book collecting! Too expensive. Also, I get mostly e-ARCs so I don’t have as many books around. Just in time for bookstagram to become a thing. It makes me tired…

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