I own a lot of books. Some might say an excessive amount. I hold onto every book I read, I collect art books and I still have all of my books from childhood. I realized when I was in college that I would drift to bookstores when I was stressed out and that reading the spines of books calmed me down. I replicated that vibe in my home and when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I find myself immediately soothed just by gazing at the bursting shelves. Last year I bought my books a wall full of glossy red shelves and I love, love, love them…it makes the soothing session that much more happy.
They are however a bitch to move. I’ve been moving boxes of books from apartment to apartment for years but last night while discussing my upcoming move, I had a stern talking to from a good friend of mine. My friend runs a publishing house and is a published author, if anyone understands my love of books, its him. Basically he shared his point of view…that no one cares what you have read, and that his own home once contained 10,000 books and now has only 500…and that he doesn’t miss them one bit. The suggestion was that I was crazy to box them all up and move them over 1800 miles away with me.
Hmmm. Ok. I get it. I don’t like it though. When I went through a divorce five years ago after four years of marriage, I threw out dumpsters worth of stuff. I was cleansing. I have had not one but two floods in my apartment/studio in the past five years and anything that was stored went in the trash. All of my drawings, most of my art supplies, a lot of clothes, all of my rugs, some furniture…all ruined. I was so very thankful that the books were spared. When I moved as a result of the second flood last February, I enlisted my two assistants to help purge my possessions. Dishes, shoes, toiletries, office supplies…you name it…if they had not seen me use it, out it went. But the books I kept.
So here I am…pricing moving trucks vs pods…getting ready to look for a new apartment, planning the next chapter and embarking on a new adventure. Is my friend right? Is it time to let go of at least all of the fiction and paper backs and keep only the art books and reference books? Is it silly to drag them half way across the country with me? Does is matter that I hold onto this one guilty pleasure?