I'm a reader. I adore books. I love to reread them, to share them, to gift them, to treasure them.
I suppose that's how I ended up with several groaning bookshelves throughout my house, as well a ridiculous amount of books stashed in the attic. Once upon a time, I never gave a book I'd read away. It was as if the act of reading translated to a soul-deep bond: I carried part of the story in me, the book forever held the imprint of my hands. Then again, that was also the time that I finished every book I started, no matter how laborious or inane. Once I started working at a book store, the sheer number of books begging to be read - from publisher-supplied ARCs to the stacks and stacks I purchased - necessitated some discernment. If a book didn't hold my interest, or made me cranky, I put it aside. There was an endless supply.
Along those lines, I accepted that I was holding on to books I'd never reread. Heck, I hold on to books I am sure that, some day, I will absolutely get around to (this is in addition to the entire, double stacked TBR bookcase, my ebook backlog, the books that have been loaned/gifted to me, and what I borrow from the library). I've done several purges over the years. I'd sell them to the used book store, send them to friends, heap them upon my nieces and nephews, donate them (in the small quantities allowed) to the library. Each time, it gets a tiny bit more manageable... and then it all starts creeping back.
Of those books in the attic, many have been there since we moved in ten years ago. Some have cycled through the Great Bookshelf Rearrangings that happen every couple of years. There are books in bags, in Rubbermaid containers, in bookstore boxes (I haven't worked there in nine years). They're languishing in the dark and the dust, unread, when there may be readers just waiting to connect with them. So... as part of the Declutter The Attic! initiative spurred by my sweetie, we hauled all of those books to the living room and sorted through every last one. I'm not decimating my stockpile. I'm keeping the ones I love, or just really like. I'm keeping the ones that were important to my childhood* (those Black Stallion books are going nowhere!). I'll do another pass in a month or so to see if my first decision sticks, and to organize the duplicate copies.
Duplicate copies, y'all. Of so. Many. Titles. There are certain books I clearly wanted in both soft and hardcover (one to read and one to look pretty on the shelves), those I buy intending to -someday- give them as gifts, and those I buy whenever I see them because they're hard to find/out of print. I have three copies of Jane Yolen's (admittedly excellent) picture book Merlin and the Dragons. WHY? Three copies of Terry Pratchett's The Fifth Elephant: one trade paperback ARC, two first edition hardcovers, one of which is signed. Three copies of American Gods: regular trade paperback, hardcover signed first edition, and the British trade. Two copies of the entire Westmark trilogy.
It's time.** Time to let go, to be honest with myself, to get rid of books that are just stuff instead of treasured - or potential - friends.
If I regret any of these decisions further down the line, it's a short trip to the library.
*going through books at my mom's house, I found an entire box of my Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books. I should just let that go through the estate sale, but... sigh
**there's the teensiest possibility there are other reasons I need to get rid of clutter, to unblock, to encourage positive energy flow. but then you all know that. <3