What does my library mean to me?
After writing a long, rambling, very probing draft on the subject, here's my rewrite.
My library of 489 books (plus the one I just bought at the Christian bookstore) is my trophy. It is a monument to my perceived self, proof that I am intellectual, that my interests are varied, even if several of the books remain unread, or bookmarked 32 pages in with boarding passes and napkins, or are relicts of my college days.
Owning books is virtuous. Owning good books is even more virtuous. I have imbedded this fact on my psyche and, with it, great pride in my 489 (plus 1) collection.
|Maybe it all started with my favorite Disney princess and her love of books|
To get rid of a book feels like relinquishing part of who I was or who I want to be. The desire to be a woman who is more than a popular fiction reader, someone who is intellectual and deep and reads classics. And I do love an occasional dip into philosophy or history or Shakespeare! I do! But I'm probably never going to read a 751 page book on John Adams even though I am interested in who he was. And although I bought that still shrink-wrapped book on Sam Houston while at the San Jacinto Monument in Houston, Texas, and therefore have a sentimental attachment to it, realistically I'm never going to read 531 pages on him either. To get rid of a book is admitting that I will probably never pursue that potentially interesting topic.
Counseling interests me, and Seeing With New Eyes is supposed to be a really good book on the topic, but right now, that's not where my interest lies. But it sure looks good on a shelf!
It looks good.
I want to tell you about all the different kinds of books (not just history!) I own just so you'll be impressed with me.
Yet, they are like a weight around my neck.
Afraid to let go of the memories--I bought American Women and World War II on the U.S.S. Midway while venturing out on a day trip by myself in San Diego!
Afraid to admit the unvirtuous fact that I like the Basil Rathbone movies better than the Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes short stories.
Afraid to let go of books that would add greatly to that ideal future homeschool library.
Afraid to close a chapter and say I'm no longer interested in that subject.
That is the salient point:
I am not interested in them right now.
What do I actually read? What if, instead of holding onto books I'm interested in and take pride in and that I bought with great excitement for amazingly cheap prices, what if I culled my library down to what I actually read? It would be far more meager. Maybe not less interesting, but less diverse. Less to boast about. And with some of my favorites now on my Kindle app, not an accurate show-off of what I read.
|Is this me, or is this who I think I should be?|
What do I actually read? Now. This person today in real life in real time. If I got rid of some of the books I probably won't ever read, would I perhaps find my true self? Who I am now? Would I find something beautiful behind the lie that my identity is wrapped up in the gargantuan amount of looks-impressive-on-a-shelf books I own but don't read? Would I find that I can be an interesting, intelligent, culture-shaping individual without owning 489 (plus 1!) books?
This is my psychological connection to my books. Basically pride and fear.
P.S. After writing this draft, I gathered together 43 books to let go of. I am trying very hard to not let my emotions kick in and change my mind. I also have been reading the new book I bought--because that's what books are for.