My Life in Books

by Carol A. Westbrook

If you are an avid reader like I am, then you may be a book addict. You have a huge collection of books, which you have been accumulating since high school. As the collection grows, you require more bookshelf space. Each move means a bigger apartment, one with more wall space for books. You are considering moving again to accommodate even more bookshelves. And so it continues. Am I right? Bookcase before2

Your books are now stacked two and three deep, and there is no more room for new books. You give a few books away, or try unsuccessfully to limit yourself to eBooks. But you can't stop yourself; you need the feel of the new book in your hand. Gridlock. Something's gotta give.

I was at that point. It was time to get rid of some of these books. But I couldn't just throw them into the trash or donate anonymously to Goodwill. I had to make sure these old friends–who followed me faithfully for decades–would go to a good home.

I've got it! I'll invite my friends to a holiday open house and a “Big Book Giveaway.”

My plan was simple. First, sort through my books and determine which ones I could part with, and then start a database that would help me remember those that are gone, good companions all. This Excel spreadsheet would help me recollect title and authors that I really enjoyed, so I could recommend them to friends or gift them. The science fiction collection would be spared–it has a place of its own. Not so for the other fiction that I enjoyed but won't read again. Then tackle the non-fiction, saving those that I use for reference or were important to my education, or shaped my worldview. These are the books that defined me, as it were.

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