Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Monday, April 2, 2018

Books and Boxes (#AtoZChallenge)


I don't know where I'd be without books in my life.   On the other hand, I don't know where my books would be if I didn't have a house big enough to store them all...




Books and Boxes




       Books and boxes and boxes of books.  That's what you see in the above photo.   My parents bought the china cabinet in 1958 after we moved to Pittsburgh.  We had moved into a duplex that was unfurnished unlike previous places we had lived.  My mom and dad bought brand new furniture for every room in the house.

         The china cabinet--Danish Modern is what I think you call the style--only held glassware and china for the duration of our one year stay in Pittsburgh.  After we moved to San Diego in 1959 the cabinet stood in our living room and held books.  For the next 30 years, with a brief stay in Crown Point Indiana and then to Maryville Tennessee, the cabinet turned bookshelf served as a library in my parents' home.  Eventually it wound up in my California garage--filled with boxes of books.

         This all needs to go.  However there is something unseen in the above photo.  There are two six foot bookcases filled with books, half in Spanish and half in English, that create another layer of "clutter."   Some of the books I'd like to keep.  All of the Spanish books can go because my wife says she doesn't want them and I'm not planning to read them.  I suppose we'll end up giving them away somewhere, but it would be nice if I could sell them.  Craigslist didn't draw any response when I tried there so I'll need to find places that buy Spanish language books.  If there still is such a place.

         Looking at these layers of clutter in wait for a destiny, my mind slips into years of memories, memories that are my own and others that don't belong to me.  The memories go back to the earliest parts of my life and even beyond.  Some of those books are quite old.  One of the Spanish books was published in 1898.  It's not in too bad of shape considering its age and the fact that it's been sitting in a bookshelf in our garage for the past twenty years.

         My life is layer upon layer upon layer.  Parts of my past are so unseen as to be forgotten unless I start thinking deeply.  And even then there are some parts that would take more time to dig out and other parts that might need translating.   Most of my memories are now cobweb covered things tucked in the darker recesses of the layers of the past.

         Books and memories are both important to me.  Still, time is counting down.  I kind of wish that I had a bigger house--the kind like you see in the movies about the very wealthy where they have libraries with high ceilings and shelves that are so tall that you need a ladder to get to the highest books.  Then I could keep all of the books.  I could even have a Spanish section.  And I could keep on buying more books.

         Not going to happen.  Anything's possible, but probably not going to happen.

         Would you want a room that was specifically a library in your house?   How do you get rid of books you no longer want?   What book have you owned longest?  

         




80 comments:

  1. I have many books about Daniel O Donnell, also some of Alex's and of course my own (which I'm very proud of)Also I have many boxes that are still unpacked from moving. I enjoyed your "B" letter of the challenge Lee. Keep up the good work.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, we have some boxes that have essentially been packed up since we moved to our house 20 years ago. Going to be some surprises in store when those get opened someday.

      Lee

      Delete
  2. I have always wanted to live in a house with a study/library - wall to ceiling bookshelves and books. Not likely in this life. The oldest book I have is probably a 1901/02 edition of Far Away and Long Ago by W.H. Hudson. Presented to me by a great-uncle from his collection when I was a little girl.

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    1. Nilanjana, I wish I had some of my grandparents' book collection. I think my aunt either took it or sold it and now she's dead too.

      Lee

      Delete
  3. We have two 6ft book shelves crammed with books too - my husband treats them like they're his children and refuses to think of giving any of them away. I think they'll eventually end up on the scrapheap because nobody values books in the generations after us - internet accessiblity has killed book reading for most people.

    Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    B for Believe in Yourself

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    1. Leanne, I rarely part with any books for the same reason as your husband. True that books are becoming obsolete to an extent, but I hope they never go away entirely. Digital books seem easy to lose eventually.

      Lee

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  4. Years ago I thought having a library would be cool. But now with eBooks, I've gotten rid of a lot of our print books.

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    1. Alex, I still haven't broken down to get an ereader. It would be good to have for all the free books that are available, but still I'd prefer and hard copy book in my hands any day.

      Lee

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  5. We have a room full of Star Trek memorabilia that includes books and Lego and everything else you can think of. We have lots of books in our home, but as Leanne said, they'll probably all end up trashed when we pass on. What's valuable to me seems to have no value to the coming generation.
    Susanne Living the Dream

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    1. Susanne, I'd hate to think that the next generation would have so little respect for what we valued, but sadly I think this is true in many cases.

      Lee

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  6. I moved over to a kindle some years ago and it has led to a cutting down of fiction - especially paperbacks. But I have held on to a few - the ones I really loved, the ones I re-read. Instead my bookcases have filled up with professional books which aren't available in an electronic format. Good thing I think full bookcases are one of those things that make a house a home.

    A-Zing this year at:
    FictionCanBeFun
    Normally found at:
    https://debsdespatches.com/
    DebsDespatches

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    1. Debs, when I visit someone else's house I usually look for collections of books, CDs, and the like. Seeing a person's library gives me greater insight to that person. I wouldn't want to live in a place that didn't have at least a few books on display and easily accessible.

      Lee

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  7. We've had to shit two very huge cartons of our books to a storage company and it's such a shame as when we feel the need to read them again they aren't there. It's a pity but that's the best one can do living in an apartment. Yet we have three big bookshelves armed with many more books. I have switched to Kindle partly, but continue to enjoy my paper backs and hard bounds.

    How fascinating that you have such an old book. That's a keeper for sure.


    April Anecdotes
    Burden or Unburden

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    1. Natasha, when I worked on the road my wife and I kept some stuff in storage then after a year decided it wasn't worth it to keep in storage. Most was sold or given away with a few things kept at our parents' houses. I'd hate to be entirely without any books, but there are a lot that it wouldn't hurt to get rid of.

      Lee

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  8. I can really relate to this, Lee! I too have books all over the place and wish for a bigger house and a library. We are trying to declutter as well, but haven't got to the books yet. Here's hoping you find a good new home for yours. That old Spanish book is a real treasure!

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    1. Debbie D, I'd like to have books in my house in one centralized location. Maybe a few scattered books would be okay, but all of the scattered bookshelves are a bit much. One good thing though is that any house guests we get will have a nice collection of books to choose from in whatever room they are sleeping in.

      Lee

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  9. I've always struggled as a reader (yes I catch the irony as I am a writer) and so once a book is read it goes to collect dust on the bookshelves, to be admired as a trophy of achievement and a brag right to friends and family. Very recently though we have moved into a home that we have turned the front room into a nice, cozy library, all the bindings of my past greet me as I enter each day. Over the past couple of weeks I have started revisiting old books, and have found a blend nostalgic comfort and mind-blowingly new perspectives on the situations and characters' development.

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    1. S.A., I understand that struggling as a read issue as I am the same way. I have hundreds of books that I've never read let alone going back to read the ones I've already read (though I have done that on occasion). I've got to start reading more. The books are there for me to read.

      Lee

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    2. Well the beginning of April A to Z is no time to be hopping back on that book train. ;)

      Delete
  10. Get rid of books?!! This is possible? ;) We do have a library in our house, the walls are covered in book shelves (Swedish made so they can take a lot of weight :)), but it also doubles as the gym.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - Movie Monsters

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    1. Natasha, I usually don't like getting rid of books--even the ones that are not so good. Books in another language can go since I'm sure I won't be reading them. An official library room sounds wonderful.

      Lee

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  11. I've long wanted a huge library room! I also would love it to have one of those rotating bookcases leading to a hidden passage or secret room, the way a lot of libraries in movies do. Most of my books are in storage 900 miles away, but I look forward to having all my books on proper shelves again if I ever get out of this place.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, with all the research you do I think you need a large in-house library. Yeah, the whole secret passage or room scenario is something I'd like in my mansion someday. I can dream.

      Lee

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  12. I actually have a room with wall to wall books and call it my library. It is precious to me but I was able to give 6 books away last year...hahahaa. My first book was a gift from my brother at Christmas. One of my fondest memories....I was very sick with 104 temp. My mom was thinking of taking me to the hospital if it got any higher. This was Christmas Eve and my mom was very worried. She wrapped my calves in a warm wet towel to suck the fever out, my brother and my dad came back from having a Christmas dinner and they thought it best to open the gifts on Christmas Day. My brother pleaded to open just one and i said ok and so we did. He then pleaded for one more and I said ok and so it went but I opened a gift and it was a book on film stars and my eyes went wide with awe because I never thought there would be books on film stars and movies. No other gift mattered. I read tha5 book right away and we opened all our gifts and, a5 the end, I had no fever! I tell you that wrapping ones calves in a warm wet towel and changing it every 20 min. Or soreally works. This was 1973 and the book is pretty battered but I love it

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    1. Birgit, giving away books is a nice idea. I've given people books and I have received books in the same way. Great book story!

      Lee

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  13. I never throw books away which is why I've run out of space and gone across to ebooks. Every book I own has a souvenir tucked inside - a leaflet on somewhere I visiting when I read it, a pressed flower, a train ticket or even the till receipt from the bookshop.

    My Friend Rosey - B is for Boyfriend

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    1. Keith, I've left some souvenirs in books as well. It's always fun to run back across them--especially the ones I put in there from college over 40 years ago.

      Lee

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  14. Books books and more books. O to have a room just for books a lamp and an easy chair! I do have my own study thankfully with a built in bookcase and hundreds of books. But it is never tidy - books pulled out and not put back - littering my desk - o well -

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    1. Susan Scott, believe me, I know what you're talking about. I'm thankful to have my own little home office/library even though it's usually a mess.

      Lee

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  15. Hi Lee - books are amazing ... I can't get rid of them ... some yes, but my reference books etc I keep - well they rest in Eastbourne ... now I'm gathering more here ...hopeless!! Can't resist them though ... good luck on clearing out as best you can ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary, most of the time anymore I use the internet for reference. But I keep my array of reference books. Now and then I'll actually look up something in our encyclopedia set we have in our living room.

      Lee

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  16. We have a mini-library in our house that holds about five hundred books, most of them read multiple times. There are also nearly hundred plus books waiting to be read. The one thing I just cannot help buying is a book.

    I have always desired a library room in my house. That dream is close to fruition as we are moving to a bigger house and, yes, there is going to be a library.

    B is for Boss

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    1. Var, when I'm tempted by a book and the price is right I don't resist. I wish you well with your library.

      Lee

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  17. I had a friend that had boxes and boxes of books, and her husband laid down the law when they moved into their house that she had to get rid of them. What we usually do with books is donate them to the library, hardbacks and paperbacks alike. I have no idea what to do with all the e-books we've accumulated. I don't think anything can be done with them.

    I have two books that are original from my childhood: Roger Price's book of "Droodles" and a book of the poetry of Wilhelm Busch, who wrote "Max und Moritz" and "Plisch und Plum" ("Ker and Plunk") and several other somewhat-violent cautionary tales for children. I had a Popular Electronics book called "There's Adventure In Electronics," that used the story of a young man becoming interested in becoming a ham radio operator to teach about radio waves and how TV and radio worked that I managed to lose when I left home, so I bought another copy of it a few years ago. Everything's changed now, but it's a nice link back to my childhood.

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    1. John, I've donated books to the library. They usually have tables of free books so I'm not sure they really have kept the books I've left.

      There are several books from my childhood that I've lost and do kind of miss them. There are also a number of childhood books that I still have.

      Lee

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  18. Wow, Arlee, 1898. That's one book I'd have a hard time letting go of, but I understand. I have books upon books upon books and we are starting to weed them out. Some I plan on keeping because I reread them every couple of years, but others, not so much. It's time for me to let go.

    Elsie

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    1. Elsie, I doubt whether the 1898 book would be worth all that much, but maybe to the right person. I think there are certain books that you should hang onto if you can. Especially like classics.

      Lee

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  19. I love this: " My life is layer upon layer upon layer." As for a library, my husband has one that has bulging books. He is a hoarder when it comes to books. I read and then pass the books on.

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    1. Susan, don't you start feeling that layered sense when you look back on your past. I think most of us go through changes in who we are in addition to the definite changes of how we appear.

      I'm a hoarder like your husband.

      Lee

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  20. Hi, Arlee - I shared your love of books. We currently have three large bookshelves filled with books...and still that is not enough room to store them all. Recently, I took box after box of books to our local used book store. I received $100 in credit, and the knowledge that the books would be read and loved again. Still, it is a difficult process.

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    1. Retiree, I definitely need to find a book reseller. I think there might still be a few within a reasonable distance from me.

      Lee

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  21. Hi Lee,

    I grew up in a house that had a library. A house without books seems too quiet.
    There are those little neighborhood libraries, as well as used book stores for placement of unwanted books. Many shelters accept them as charitable donations.
    Besides "Miss Lollipop's Lion" (containing crayon scribbles that could only be mine), I've owned "The Velvet Room" the longest.
    Gosh, if I had to, I guess I'd start with the easiest books to let go of. Maybe two per day ;-)

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    1. Diedre, my parents' house was never quiet when I was living there or after I left. We always had books prominently visible in our house in Tennessee.

      Once I get rid of those Spanish books I think the momentum will start moving to see what else can go. I hate to get rid of books.

      Lee

      Delete
  22. When I reach a point where I can part with a book, I donate it to a local charity. I have many books I would love to replace with digital versions, but can't bring myself to pay for it when I've already purchased a hardcopy. I had the bright idea once, to check prices on digital copies of some of my books. One was selling pretty cheap... just a few bucks... so I bought it and then took the hardcopy from the shelf to put in the "donate" pile. That's when I noticed a handwritten note from my father on the inside cover. He had given it to me as a gift. No way was I going to part with that. So now I have a digital and a hardcopy. Sigh.

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    1. Trudy, those gifted books with inscriptions are so cool to own. I have a few from different people. Hard to let those kinds of things go.

      Lee

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  23. I think I need a larger house just for my books. And, my husband has a lot of them also. I have books in and out of boxes. Thank goodness for Kindle - at least any new books I read are digital although I do like the feel of a real book. I enjoyed your blog - keep up the good work! I think I'm 349 on the list - In my own words at http://www.dianeweidenbenner.com/brrr-someone-frosted-the-trees/

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    1. Diane, I keep dreaming! Real tangible books are the best as far as I'm concerned.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Lee

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  24. I have a few books from childhood but since there's no room in this house for a bookshelf my books have been in boxes since I moved in 2011. Unfortunately.

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    1. JoJo, you gotta get a bookshelf!

      Lee

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  25. Without a doubt I would love to have a big ol' den dedicated to books. I have at least a wall's worth already...

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    1. CW, an old fashioned "den" would be nice to have. I don't hear rooms called "dens" anymore. Also, rec rooms. Or maybe I just haven't been looking at houses besides my own.
      I would like a den and a rec room if we bought another house.

      Lee

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  26. Link to C contributor list isn't working. Goes to Null.

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    1. Donna, fixed it. Thanks for the heads up.

      Lee

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  27. I'll be with A to Z in spirit this year. Reading all the posts is the best part.

    Books, I have too many and plan to part with none too soon. I need to unload. I'm at the point there is no way I will read them all. But the titles still appeal.

    I have a friend that sells a lot on ebay and Amazon. I've never done it myself.

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    1. Ann, thanks for supporting A to Z in spirit at least. I looked into ebay and Amazon and decided I didn't want to mess with it.

      Lee

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  28. Yes, yes, yes! I've dreamed of that room you describe so often! Right now I have converted our spare bedroom to a library. I have four big bookshelves from IKEA in there. Every few months I've been going through my books and asking myself if I'd ever read that one again. When I can honestly say "no", I box them up for the garage sale at church. The oldest book that is MINE is a white leather-covered King James version of the Bible my grandparents gave to me in 1961 when I was 11. But the OLDEST book I have is the bronze-covered New Testament my dad carried in WWII. AND his Army Field Hymnal. Great post, Arlee.

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    1. Calensariel, I also have my first Bible given to me by the pastor of the church we were attending at that time. That was in 1958--the cover is starting to come off. That book has gotten a lot of use, but I've gotten some other Bibles since that I now use instead of that one.

      Lee

      Delete
  29. AHH Books! Our house growing up had two big built in bookcases. I've always wanted to have a house with a library and a fireplace to sit and read. Almost every room in our house has books of some sort. I can understand getting rid of the Spanish books. I've donated a bunch to the library and tried to sell some at a second hand store or at garage sales.

    Janet
    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. Janet, we have built-in bookshelves in our living room and they are on both sides of a gas fireplace that we've rarely used. I don't often read in the living room though.

      Lee

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  30. I am not an avid reader believe it or not. My collection of books is only 5 years old but I have three bookshelves full. I can't imagine getting more right now, nor do I need to. I have a kindle and the library is always handy. I'm at the point of rereading them until I give them all away so I can get new ones :D

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    1. Jackie, I can't say I've been an avid reader either--at least not most of the time. I have my phases, but mostly it's not reading. You've apparently been acquiring books at a rapid pace in the past five years. My book purchasing has mostly slacked off unless I see a deal too good to pass up or find a must-have book to add to my collection.

      Lee

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  31. The books I've owned the longest would have to be three Time-Life series that I bought back in the early eighties. One is on true crime, one is about the Civil War and the other contains repros of book written about the Civil War back in the 1870s-1880s.

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    1. GB, those Time-Life books are pretty nice to have on display and for perusal. I think we might have a few of those around from my wife's collection.

      Lee

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  32. I donate the books I don't want to the library. If they can't put them on the shelves, they sell them for some ridiculous amount like $.50 a piece. Regardless, it makes me feel like they go to a good home.

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    1. Liza, the library presumably has a good sense about what to do with donated books. I'd rather get money for mine, but often the tax write-off is worth even more than the yard sale prices one normally gets from selling books.

      Lee

      Delete
  33. Oh the books . . . they are everywhere! At one point I thought we would keep reading them over and over again, but as the years go by, I realize there is just too little time, and we keep wanting the new ones. We do use the library a lot these days and some day will have to face the fact of what to do with all the books we have. Or our children will have to face that challenge on their own.
    http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

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    1. Marcy, you are so right! There are many books I'd like to read again, but too many still unread. Where to find the time!

      Lee

      Delete
  34. All my life, there have been bookcases and sometimes libraries. I've stopped buying paper books to avoid the clutter that overwhelmed about ten years ago, although I do get a few from competitions. Plus, I bought a trilogy that I wanted on my bookshelves alongside my 1970s hardback set of Lord of the Rings.

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    1. Roland, really it's all just stuff, but I one can have it then it's nice to have. And then some things are just special.

      Lee

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  35. Boxes filled with books are amazing, this I say because I love books

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    1. Jo-Anne, hopefully one day soon all of my books in boxes will be gone or properly stored.

      Lee

      Delete
  36. I bought a house from my friend's mother who died. Lots of stuff was left behind. I thought it was hard getting rid of old books until I tried to get rid of all the old crucifixes!

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    1. Zulu, where'd you move into? A convent?

      Lee

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    2. No, just into a house formally owned by a an old Portuguese woman......very similar! Hahahaha!

      Delete
  37. I haven't kept a lot of books through the years except for my Dark Shadow paperbacks, Anne Rice Novels, which I recently let go.Sure wish I'd kept my Nancy Drew books I had as a young girl, but they disappeared?? But I'm working on building that collection back. And writing on Nancy Drew this year. https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/category/2018-a-to-z-all-about-nancy-drew/

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    1. Jeanne, I still have several Hardy Boys and Tom Swift Jr books, but most disappeared while they were in storage at my parents' house when I was working on the road. I don't guess I need to complete those collections.

      Lee

      Delete
  38. Lee,

    I apologize for not visiting before now but I certain if anyone understands then it'll be you. I won't begin to speak of my clutter and difficulties involved with getting rid of stuff so I'll answer your questions instead.

    Would you want a room that was specifically a library in your house? We don't have enough books to create a library but I've often thought in our next house that I'd like to have a home office where we can put all of our bookcases, along with a nice big desk that accommodates both of us. We have separate computers. It's best this way. :) I do have a bunch of children's books, mostly for really young kids.

    How do you get rid of books you no longer want? In the past I had some success selling book series that belonged to my daughters on my blog and what didn't sell, we donated to Goodwill.

    What book have you owned longest? DH has some of The Hardy Boys books from his youth and I have a Bible that my grandparents got my little brother that somehow I wound up using as a teenager. I nearly forgot DH bought some old, old books in the early 80s when we began furnishing this house with pieces. I don't know what they are but I think they were more than hundred years old and he got them because they were cool looking. They are sitting high on top of our bookcase which I can't reach without a ladder. That's okay, they are probably covered with dust which would make me sneeze my head off if I disturbed them.

    The china cabinet is nice. I recall my parents and in-laws having the white metal ones with a glass compartment. I bet you know what I'm talking about, too. It's nothing fancy but it holds dishes (stacked) and glassware just fine. Thanks for sharing and have a good day!


    Curious as a Cathy
    A2Z iPad Art Sketch 'Bookstack"

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  39. Cathy, now that our kids are gone, my wife and I each have our own office with our own computers and libraries. Most of the books in her office are mine because I don't have anymore book space in my office and she has the coolest bookshelves in hers.

    Lee

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  40. Yes I could use a room dedicated for books. I still prefer real books! However they do take up room.

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    1. Mike, real books are the best as long as you've got a place for them.

      Lee

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