It’s not much of a secret. I have a problem.
I’ve gotten better over the years, to be sure. The decline of the brick and mortar bookstore presence, harsh as that is, has helped me with my problem. I’m less likely to make an impulse buy, or to be perusing the discount book racks.
The heart of my problem in the past is that it lacked a lot of focus. The eclectic collection has been great, but as I’ve learned recently, there are gaps in it. For example, I have some decent quality first editions of Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples – only, it turns out I only have books 1 and 2. It was a 4 volume set. While I can easily fix this via abebooks.com, the sad part is I didn’t even notice.
The other part of my problem is that I didn’t necessarily read all of the books I added. Many of them, yes, but some were added as to-be-read, or because frankly they fit the motif in my head. This has led to my owning a lot of books that I have never, and may never, read. Kind of shameful, to be honest.
Our impending move to California next year has made me rethink these books and their place. There are the easy ones to weed away, books that were sent as ARC’s that I can’t do anything with, or books that would do better as donations to the library than as shelf filler. But that still leaves four or five bookcases of books to deal with.
So I’ve set myself a task until we move next summer. I’m not sure what kind of impact this will have on my other reading, like book review reading. Until we move, I am going to make it my goal to go through and try and read every book on my shelves. If a book isn’t worth reading, it isn’t worth cluttering up my shelves any more. If it’s worthy of keeping and in bad condition, I will consider replacing it. But if it isn’t worth keeping, and trying to read it leaves me with a bad taste, it will either go to recycling or donations.
What about e-books? Aren’t those supposed to be replacing these paper books? Well…eh. Yes and no. Most of these books either aren’t available in e-print, or even if they are, they’re too classic to rely on a digital copy. Sure, I can get copies of Thucydides from Gutenberg, but why would I give up my hardback History of the Peloponnesian War?
Off to browse my personal stacks and see what adventure awaits me tonight…