Oct 15, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: I Miss My Books

This week's Booking Through Thursday questions remind me of the books I sold or gave away years ago and now wish I had.

In response to the Booking Through Thursday questions, here are my answers:

When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain? Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all?

I almost never get rid of books except older text books, magazines, and some paperbacks to the local library, which puts them up for sale. My better half has weeded down my library for me, throwing out and giving away books that he thought I didn't want. I soon put a stop to that practice by telling him about the libraries of old which kept every single scrap of print. (Read The Shadow of the Wind, I told him). He hasn't read the book, but he believed me.

And–when you DO weed out books from your collection (assuming that you do) …what do you do with them? Throw them away (gasp)? Donate them to a charity or used bookstore? SELL them to a used bookstore? Trade them on Paperback Book Swap or some other exchange program?

I have passed on books to friends and family and even entrusted some of my precious ones to my children, with a warning that I want to have them back after they have read them. (I didn't want to encourage them to throw them away or leave them around.)

So I'm a book pack rat. I'm only forming my own medieval-style library, keeping everything. There are books however, that I don't like at all and there are books that are too old to keep (paperbacks), and those get donated or given away. I have only once in my life thrown a book away.

My book pack rat status is a throw back to the days when I lived in a small town without a library and read the same books over and over again. My first Booking Through Thursday post ever, and it really got me going.

Why I Miss My Books:

When I moved from one continent to another some long time ago, I had a grand sale of books, including most of what I had collected through university. I sold many books I'd love to have today, including Dream of the Red Chamber, a Chinese classic by Tsao Hsueh-Chin in several volumes. I don't think I can find that today for the price I got them for. Now the novel is available at a reasonable price, but abridged and in paperback.

Before coming back to the U.S., I sold another set of books I had carted around with me, including a condensed version of the Oxford English Dictionary, about 20 volumes squeezed into two thick volumes, complete with accompanying magnifying glass. I don't know if the condensed version is still available. If it is not, what would it be worth today?

Read more responses to Booking Through Thursday here.


  1. I can see how living in a small town with no library could lead to being a 'book pack rat'! I try to weed yearly...some years with more success than others.

  2. I don't have a library nearby. I buy books yet I give away a lot too.

    Booking Through Weeding

  3. I hate getting rid of books myself, but I'm going to have to soon if I don't get more bookshelves! lol

  4. JoAnn and gautami: glad you are able to weed and give away. I am creating a library so keep most of the books.

  5. Oh, sorry you had to sell your books! I can understand why, but I hate to hear you so upset. I'd find it awful, too.

    Lately I've only given away cook books - but maybe, in hindsight, that might have been a mistake! LOL

    Here are my answers for Booking Through Thursday


  6. I don't hang on to very many books...I don't re-read very often!

  7. I get rid of the ones that I absolutely don’t like, the ones that I rate as “Toss” in reviews. I tend to keep books that are of literary artistry. I end up keeping a lot of them!

  8. How awful that you had to sell your books. That must have been really traumatic. And I'm not sure what I'd do if my husband started "weeding" my books for me - I think that might be grounds for divorce around here!

  9. I guess I'll get over it once I get my hands on another hardcover set of Dream of the Red Chamber. That's the one I really want, and then I'll be fine :) Thanks for the sympathy.

  10. I have gone on purges over the years, to the point where I'm at 225 books (and another 12 TBRs). The ones I've kept are all favorites, and many have a sentimental value to me. I do re-read.

    I have been rather hasty sometimes, however, and given away books I wish I hadn't.

    It's too bad that you had to sell or divest yourself of some of your favorite and valuable books. I sympathize.

  11. Sounds like your medieval style library could be come pretty labyrinthine! It makes me think of Umburto Eco's the Name of the Rose....

  12. I began reading last year, and got serious with it only this year. So thankfully having to weed out books won't be a problem for me for a long time :)

    So sorry you had to lose some books. I think I can understand how that felt :(

  13. Novel Insights: LOL, my books are too few and my library too small to ever become labyrinthine! Basically my "library" is one room in the basement, and well lit. No minotaurs lurking around the corners. If I had the kind of books the monks had in The Name of the Rose, I'd be really happy, not to mention filthy rich! LOL

    David: Enjoy collecting your books!

    Matt: There are a few that I might end up giving away to the library for their book sales. But now that funding for libraries are being cut and staff reduced, the libraries might very well decide to keep their books instead of weeding them out with book sales.

    Staci: Good for you, keeping your books down to a manageable few!

    Jo-Jo: As long as there is space for more shelves, the library should expand!

  14. Charlie: Thanks for your words of sympathy. Now I'll think twice about the books I weed out.


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