The time has come. I am beginning to get rid of all my books. Well, 80% of them at least; all of the books that I collected over the years when I was selling books online. I didn't do it for long, but it was a good little cushion when I needed it.
I was encouraged by a friend, a longtime used bookseller, who sold books on ABE (Advanced Book Exchange) and Biblio. She said that all the work it took was worth not having to work for someone else. It was a lot of work to do well. It could have easily turned into a full time job, but I would have been living and breathing books which I felt like I was doing already. I was never really brave enough to jump in with both feet. We are, and have always been, dependent upon our employers and have known no other way to muddle through our frugal life without them.
I've been gathering boxes but putting off filling them for weeks now, maybe even months. Yes, I confess, months. Yesterday I filled half a dozen boxes and took them to the library donation place and said goodbye to them. It felt good. I felt lighter. I probably have another 20 boxes to go. I hope I feel 20 times lighter by the end of it.
It looks like we're moving, I told Michael. He agreed. Slowly more space is presenting itself. Slowly I am seeing manageable piles of reading material instead of insurmountable heaps of wishes, "Some day when I have the time..." because although the bulk of the books were acquired for book stock, there were some gems among the titles that I always wanted to read. A few by Thomas Merton, one by Annie Dillard, the classic Gunter Grass's, The Tin Drum. As you can guess I've kept a few books for myself which brings me to this phenomenon.
How is it that I can be gliding along, not a care in the world, no oppressive desire rearing its head and shaking its mane in my face when suddenly, I must have a book by an author that I knew nothing about only minutes ago? This happened to me after reading an email from a friend asking if I had read My Struggle: Book One by Karl Ove Knausgaard. After reading an excerpt, reading the author's bio and lustily pulling it up on Amazon so I could ogle the cover, I've had to struggle with not impulsively buying it. I am, after all, shedding books and I am in the middle of reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer which I inexplicably set aside as I am wont to do from time to time. I don't need another book be it a kindle version or paper version, but the reptilian part of my brain desires it. I want to bask in the narrative like a lizard on a rock soaking up the sun. I want to taste new sentences, have them melt in my mouth leaving a sweet and lingering after taste, a phrase to mull over, let go of and return to again and again.
Denying myself is my own form of discipline. I tell myself that I will reward myself with Knausgaard after I finish packing up and freeing myself of another twelve boxes of used books that have been taking up precious space in our little home. The speed that it takes to complete that task will be the true barometer of my desire.
Eventually, I'll reward mysel with it. I'm sure I'll use some nonsensical and lame justification like the season. It is summer afterall, and summer, as we all know, is a time for leisurely reading.