Image by Ben Oh via Flickr
Last Monday's post stimulated some interesting discussion about whether or not most of our writing is done in vain. The over all consensus is that it is not so long as we enjoy what we are doing and if others derive some kind of benefit or entertainment value from what we write. I want to write and so I do.
Today I ask can we ever own too many books. At what point do we have too many books?
My wife probably is thinking that I am approaching hoarder mentality, especially where books are involved. I haven't counted what I have in my house, but I would estimate within the view from my office desk I can see about 300 books. Then I have several in the closet that I can't see. In other rooms of the house there are at least another two or three hundred scattered about. Add to that another few hundred that belong to my wife (she shouldn't be pointing at finger at me!). And did I mention the I don't know how many hundred that are out in our garage on shelves or packed in boxes? I even still have books from my younger days at my mother's house.
Let's face it--I probably have more books than I will ever read in my remaining lifetime at the rate I'm reading now. And I seem to keep acquiring more to add to the collection.
Over the years I've amassed many of them through book club memberships, purchased several for school classes, bought them during sales like the Borders clearances, and had them given to me. I rarely get rid of any of them because I like having a library in my home.
Even the ones I have read I would probably not want to get rid of since I tend to forget what I read and think that I may one day read them again. That might not be possible since I've got so many left to read for the first time.
Maybe I have too many books. That could probably also go for CDs, DVDs, and other recorded media. I look around the house and see all the stuff and realize maybe we have too much of all of it. Where does it end?
Recently when I helped my sister move from Phoenix back to Tennessee, we loaded a rental truck with a great many things she would need in her new home and a lot of personal possessions that she wanted to keep. The rest of what she owned she left behind to be sold by an auction company. As I looked around the house before we left I was amazed at the sheer quantity of material goods that she and her late husband had acquired over the previous decade and a half. Most of us own so much that is just there but rarely used for anything functional and often not even noticed that it is there.
That is my book collection--untouched for the most part, but are there any books I would immediately want to give up? I guess I would have to think on that for a while and it might prove to be a difficult decision. Maybe when they start stacking up, threatening to fall over and crush me, then maybe I'm starting to own too many books. Perhaps I need to slow down and start reading instead of accumulating.
Do you own too many books? What should be the point at which you stop accumulating books? When do you decide to get rid of books? How do you get rid of them?
If you'd like to add more books to your collection be sure to see my post coming up on Wednesday November 23rd where I'll be talking about the big Chronicle Books Give-Away. Oh boy! More books.