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Can you have too many books?

March 9th, 2014 at 04:44 pm

When we were married, we marveled that we had only one book in common (it was a Douglas Coupland book - I actually despised that book so not sure why I still owned it; I've since gotten rid of my redundant copy).

When D and I moved back to the US, he sent over a partial shipping container; it contained a lot of books! (and some other stuff, but there really were a lot of books).

I don't remember when I stopped buying books and instead borrowed them from the library. D still buys books (and likes to receive them as gifts), and he won't part with books he already owns.

I think you CAN have too many books. Look at our bookshelves - wow! I dust the books every week. And I just did a mega-dust where I took every book off and dusted behind them. And aside from our reference books (one shelf) and photobooks we've had made, we rarely open those books at all. I'd also rather walk by the shelves and see only my favorites - and I do have favorites that I would never part with! (Jasper Fforde, Kate Atkinson, Milagro Beanfield War, One Hundred Years of Solitude).



So I have decided to select one book a week to sell (http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller/sell-your-stuff.html?ld=AZSOATEXTJOINT) or donate to the library.

We used to do PaperbackSwap (which is brilliant if you want another book to come into your life to replace the book you just got rid of. That was my first step to forgoing new books altogether and just visiting the library).

Book no. 1 - Animal Dreams (Barbara Kingsolver). I really loved her book The Bean Trees. I didn't love Animal Dreams, but I bought it and kept it. I am now selling it for $1 over shipping costs. It's not much, but it'd be another snowflake, right?

When I think about the money I wasted buying books I feel slightly ill.

10 Responses to “Can you have too many books?”

  1. snafu Says:

    Until we moved from house to condo, DH had every book ever bought or gifted including those from his university years [totally outdated] . I elicited an agreement to keep only current books, new book in - old book out using coloured stationary dots to 'date' books. DH has been cooperative because he support our Fire Dept.'s giant fund raising Book Fair. He uncomplainingly donates several 4 cu box of books to the firehall each drive.

    The big change came a few years ago with electronic readers. Current books are free from the library without even the effort of driving over. Others are so inexpensive on-line it is crushing the publishing business.

  2. Buendia Says:

    I love the idea of a book drive - wish our Fire Dept. did something like that. Wonder if that would get D to part with books?

    He does have a kindle, and recently bought a book for the kindle AND got the hardback version from the library. I don't get it, but I'm not going there...

    With my new system, I will eliminate 52 books this year (of my own) and that will feel good! He can keep all of his books, and things will still be less cluttered.

  3. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    At one time I had five four-five shelf bookshelves double stacked (one row of books pushed to the inside, a second row on the outside.) Then came the time where I moved 5+ times in 2 years. I now have two 4 shelf bookcases with a single row of books. Most of my books were either donated to a local school or sold at Half-Price Books.

    Good for you attempting to pare down your library! Smile

  4. wife of the deacon Says:


    But it all looks so inviting ... I'd love to pull up a chair and grab something to read. I'm going into reading for enjoyment withdrawals since I become an official student again on 3/31. I've finished "Sleep Doctor" by Stephen King, a Ruth Rendell that I've been listening to, and I want to finish Winston Graham's "Poldark" series again. I love academia, but I love my books, too!

  5. Buendia Says:

    It does look inviting, thank you Wife of the Deacon! I've got many more books at work I'd love to bring home when there's space (architecture books). I doubt the shelves will ever look empty! Especially not with my husband's love of books...

  6. Mooshocker Says:

    In the words of Winston Churchill....Never, ever, ever......TOO MANY BOOKS! Or something like that!?!?!?!?!

  7. rob62521 Says:

    My husband would say one can never have too many books....your shelves are not sagging. As for beating yourself up over past book purchases, there were far worse things you could have purchased. We have all had hindsight on past purchases.

  8. Looking Forward Says:

    I would never call books a waste of money... Smile However, since you can get them free I'll just say are better places to use money.

  9. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I'm wondering whether, soon, loads of books will mark the owner as an eccentric. Why have rows and rows of dust catchers when it can all be contained electronically in the palm of your hand?...said by someone who spent an hour yesterday looking at bookshleves on Craigslist, but who sent 100's of books to a charity shop 2 & 3 months ago.

  10. Miz Pat Says:

    I have a kindle and I moved part of my science fiction collection to the garage. My nephew checks it out and brings books into his bedroom and they are slowly making their way back to him. We donate books to the library, and sometimes take them to a used bookstore.

    The kindle means I can read at night without turning on a light and that I got a lot of books for absolutely nothing on line. That is kind of cool, but I still find my heart loves a room with lots and lots of books.

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