Wednesday, 12 August 2009

My name is Sue and I'm an addict

I need help. I'm a hoarder and compulsive buyer of books and it has to stop. NOW! It'd take me a year to get through my 'to read pile' yet I've asked for more books for my birthday. Why? When I can't keep up with what I already have.

I have 2 bookcases in my house; 1 is to the ceiling around 3ft wide and has 6 shelves crammed full, the other one is slightly smaller with 3 shelves, again busting at the seams. Then upstairs I have shelves in 2 bedrooms again overflowing. Plus there're books stuffed behind the sofa, in wardrobes and under beds.
Yesterday I decided enough is enough. I need to thin them out. It isn't that I don't know where to send them - there're dozens of people would be grateful for them - it's the act of giving them up I can't face. I find it sooo painful to let them go! I feel like an addict doing cold turkey.

My collection falls into several categories.

There're those I've read and enjoyed so much I'm loathe to chuck because, well, um, I might find them useful as reference for my own work.

Obviously, any reference books on writing I cant possibly ditch even though I can quote them word for word.

Ditto dictionaries and 'Year' books even though this info can be mostly accessed on-line.

Some fiction I haven't even read but cant possibly get rid off them because I'll eventually get around to doing so...when exactly? 2012???

There're those I've tried to read and didn't finish for various reasons - usually because they weren't to my taste BUT I cant ditch because I may come back to them later...but probably won't. But you never know, do you? Take The Time Traveller's Wife - couldn't get into it but now the film's out I feel compelled to try once again.

Then there're the signed editions from my fave authors I'd NEVER EVER give up because I love them and their work.

Then there're those signed editions of books I'd never normally buy (Know Your Newt??)but did so because the author looked lonely there behind her/his table in the bookshop and we had a nice chat about the writing game etc.

Recognise my dilemma? I bet you do. Anyway, yesterday, I began the task of getting rid. I took 2 large carrier bags of books to the charity shop but had to park right outside, run in, dump them and run out again before I bought more to replace them.

Today I've filled two more large bags. I don't think I can face another trip to Barnardo's in case I fall off the wagon.


Diane said...

Do you have a local library close to hand? I've recently heard that certain charity shops (though not necessarily the "big ones") only keep book donations for a short while then skip them. If you can take them to a local library, it will help with their dilemma of not having the budget to buy books, and they'll put bar codes on them so that those authors that are registered at least get some plr from them. This is what I do, once I've exhausted all my friends I can book swap with.

I feel your pain. My personal reference library is better than most regular reference libraries and I'd never get rid of any of those. I'm also loathe to get rid of books I've never read, even if I know I never will. But I too have had to do this weeding out recently and I'm still precious about much of it.

Good luck.

Teresa Ashby said...

I know just how you feel! I had a clear out a few years ago and I can still think of books I got rid of that I wish I hadn't! It's so hard parting with them!!

Julie P said...

It was as though you were talking about me, Sue! I went round all the fetes and school fairs last year and picked up so many books I'm too ashamed to reveal the number! Have I read them all now, a year later? Have I sausage!

I had to ban myself from going round the fairs and fetes this year. I'm also terrible at getting rid of the onesI've read too. It must be a common trait amongst writers

Julie xx

Happy Writer said...

Ha, ha, wasn't sure what you were about to reveal when I read the title...

I was lucky to have a friend who opened a second hand bookstore and asked for donations, so was a good excuse for a big clean out (and I got credit at the store) - I only kept what I read over and over.

Good luck deciding what to keep and what to toss!