Posted by: Kathleen Mix | February 19, 2013

Hoarding Books

My office on the second floor of my house is also the home of my book collection. In addition to dictionaries and several dozen non-fiction books pertaining to the craft of writing, I have a fiction collection that may rival the number of volumes found in a small town library.
I love being surrounded by books, but the number I’ve accumulated over the years is beginning to present a problem. First, the weight of so many volumes raises questions about the breaking strength of the floor joists. And second, I’m running out of shelf space.
I’ve tried sorting and culling, hoping to keep only the best of the best. But as I sort, I invariably read the back cover blurbs, remember why I kept the book after my first read, and ninety percent of the time, I decide one more read is in order. A good book is better on subsequent reads. During my first read, I can enjoy the plot and characterization. During the next read, I analyze structure and craft. A third read may still be revealing nuances of theme or symbolism or imagery. So, if I enjoy a book the first time around, I save it to enjoy again.
I know many authors and avid readers with a similar problem. We all seem to understand the basic rule for those who hopelessly hoard good books: under no circumstances sell your house, because the day you’re forced to pack your collection in cartons and pay a mover by the pound to ship them to a new home will most certainly be a disaster.


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