I once read a post by Tim Challies where he said he limits his books to about 1,000. Some books are worth keeping, but others can be passed on – and he didn’t want his books to get out of hand. I’m attempting to limit myself to the bookshelves I already have and I’ve promised my spouse “no more bookshelves!”. I have 7 bookshelves and 6 are taller ones with a maximum number of shelves. Oh, and I also have an old “bachelors chest” whose drawers are filled with books. And random books here and there around my house…ahem.
(Please don’t mention how a kindle gadget would eliminate all this book clutter. I am an old-fashioned, tangible soul and a kindle would not work for me. Yes, I blog and use the internet…but I love paper, handwriting, notebooks, postal mail, etc.)
I have a notebook where I began writing down brief quotes that I came across and appreciated, but it has turned into more than that, as I also write down key points or content that I want to remember from books. This is one way I am culling books. Instead of keeping every book, I jot down what I want to remember for future reference, and then get rid of it. With some books, there is only one brief comment I want to record – which confirms for me that the book was not worth my keeping it! However, with other books, I realize I’ll have many pages of notes and this confirms I should keep it.
[FYI: when I say “get rid of” books, I mean donate them, give them away, sell them, or turn them in for store credit at the used book store. But alas, the store credit option only continues the influx of new books!]
In my next couple of posts, I’ll share some book excerpts I recently wrote in my notebook. They relate to this blog’s theme of faith and doubt. One of the books I’m selling because it is worth too much for me to keep (it was a textbook for a class), but the other book I decided to keep. The first time I read this later book, it just didn’t do much for me. But flipping back through it, it strikes me in a different way and I may end up re-reading it.
I guess you may infer that most of my books are non-fiction, and many are related to the Bible and theology. (But I also like books on history, animals, and travel adventures – especially antique travel stories.) I do read some fiction, but fiction I am usually content to check out of the public library.
Last year I turned a small bedroom in my house into a library. I even got a comfy reading chair. My books are either in this room, or around the corner in the den. The den bookshelves are beautiful built-in ones, so those books stay out there.
Anyway, if you are a book lover, feel free to leave a comment. Do you try to limit your books? Are you afraid of getting rid of a book and then wish you’d kept it? Are your book shelves in one room or area of the house, or are your bookshelves scattered throughout the house? Feel free to share any rambling book thoughts!