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.