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October 2, 2013 / Angela Sylvia

Reading Problems – Ditching My Books

I have a lot of books. I remember I used to keep track of my manga, which was up in the hundreds, and that’s not counting every other kind of book I cling to. I knew the pain of lifting boxes filled with those books when I moved with my parents into their current home, so when I moved out for good I knew I couldn’t take everything; forget that they wouldn’t have fit, I’d have died before I got them all up the stairs. For the first time, instead of ditching a couple books here or there that I wouldn’t read, I was determined to get rid of whole chunks, a significant amount. Some novels, yes, but also manga series I had never finished, would never return to. This went completely against my nerd-tendency to cling onto all the things I’d collected. But I needed a little more space and breathing room to move on with my life, so those things had to go.

Lately I’ve been piling up more books to get rid of. Some of them were review items which I had no real attachment to anyway, or cheap used books that piled up from my stint in a used bookstore. Others were novels or even some books from college days which I knew I would never read again.

Then there was my manga collection again. I’ve mostly confined my collection to one bookshelf, though it’s double stacked, and I’ve got stuff on the top as well. But there’s also stuff that has spilled over to the floor, no place for it to go. Looking through it, I’ve basically whittled it down to things I don’t think I’d get rid of: Emma is too precious, Fullmetal Alchemist still stands as one of my favorite things. If I haven’t finished the series yet, I’m still determined to, like with Hoshin Engi. There are some that I’m reviewing that I’ll likely get rid of once I get to the end, or for whatever reason cease to review, but I’m hanging on to them for now, on the unlikely chance that I need to go back to the beginning to check…something. But there are others that I’ve realized I’m never going to complete, I’m never going to reread…and they had to go.

I brought a couple of series to the library I work at yesterday, to see if the librarian in charge wanted them for the young adult shelf. She did. Which is great: they’ll have a shelf to live on, where people who want to read or reread them can take them out. But as she brought them out back to get put in the system, she passed me and said, “They’re off to get stickered, say goodbye!” And I almost said, no, stop, I changed my mind, give those back. Because even though I haven’t read them in years, they were things that have been around with me for a long time, moving to college, and home, and away again. I was clinging to them, even though I couldn’t remember the last time I’d cracked one open, or the last time I felt like I might want to. My house is too cluttered. I want clean shelves and open floors. And someday soon, we’ll move again, and if I’m going to be lugging something up and down stairs, and taking the time to find it a home on a shelf, I want it to be something I know deep down is worth it to me, not just because I used to love it, but because I love it now.

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