I know I’ve just spoken heresy to many of you. TOO MANY BOOKS?? Not possible.
Yes possible. And it’s also possible to shift your thinking from “I MUST HAVE ALL THE BOOKS!” to “Okay, so maybe I don’t need as many as I thought.”
Because I did that. (it took awhile–a loooooooong while)
I had more books than all of you put together. I bought books by the crate at yard sales and thrift stores. I inherited them from grandparents and retired teachers. People gave me all the books they were getting rid of. I got free books as a teacher with my Scholastic points. I got (and still get) free books to review.
I collected kids’ books and antique books and cornflower blue books and ALL THE OTHER BOOKS.
And then slowly, over time, I made the shift. I realized that there are a lot lot lot of good books out there. And there are also some really great ones. And more are being published pretty much every day.
And I will never be able to read (let alone re-read) them all.
In light of that, here’s this:
My Criteria for Keeping a Book
1. I’ve read it multiple times, marked it all up, and still refer to it.
2. It’s super-compelling and is congruent with my life’s purpose (loving the poor/simplifying/missions).
That’s pretty much it. With a few exceptions. (some Bibles, 10 books published in the 1800’s, 1 fiction book, some books I’m still thinking about, the girls each have a math book that they may/may not ever open again)
Reasons I Decided Not to “Collect” Books Anymore:
1. I’m easily overwhelmed.
2. I have limited space.
3. I sold a bunch to help pay for our last trip to Cambodia.
4. Life’s too short to read/re-read books that aren’t awesome.
5. Life’s too short to read books that don’t fit with my life’s purpose.
6. We have an incredible library system.
Not all of you are going to buy into my fairly-new philosophy on books. I don’t expect you to or want you to. I’m just sharing my perspective and asking you to think through why you keep the things you keep.
Today’s Baby Step Challenge:
Get rid of (sell/donate) 5 books.
Today’s Little-Bit-Bigger Challenge:
Get rid of (sell/donate) 15 books.
Today’s Big Daddy Challenge:
Go through your entire book collection and get rid of everything you won’t read again.
As an author, it seems a little bit STUPID to be telling people to STOP HAVING SO MANY BOOKS, but it’s how I feel. (Most of my books are out of print anyway, so unless you’re pregnant and want to buy this one or you’re married and want to buy 10 copies of this one to get it off my hands…)
I do want to offer you a little incentive today. Some of you already have all my e-books, so whoopty-do, but if you don’t:
Get rid of 5 books, and I’ll give you a free e-book.
Get rid of 10; I’ll give you 2.
Lose 15; I’ll give you 3.
Lose 20; I’ll give you 4.
Lose 25+ and I’ll give you all 4 of my e-books + the promise of the one I’m writing now (about un-schooling).
Just leave a comment telling me how many books you got rid of and which e-books you want. (and give me a day or two to get them to you).
I’d also love to hear your philosophy on books and how you decide which ones to keep and which ones to pass along.