03 December 2007

Free your mind (and your shelves)

I gave away eight books this weekend. It felt great!

Usually one of the highlights of my weekend is discovering a history of the Oscars on the clearance shelf at Barnes & Noble or a hunting expedition at the Strand. But I just re-read Peter Walsh's IT'S ALL TOO MUCH and I decided a little sorting was in order.

If you don't know the name Peter Walsh, maybe you need some TLC in your life. I mean the channel; he's a professional organizer on "Clean Sweep," a show where people's horrifically messy rooms are redecorated while they sort through their clutter. I've been a messy person all my life -- it used to drive my sister crazy when we shared a room -- so Walsh's philosophy, that we hold on to clutter as some kind of representation of our inner desires, really hit home with me. I want to read all the time, therefore my apartment is filled with books... but do I really need to keep all of them?

These weren't books I had just gathered up because they were free; I made the decision at some point that I had to have them, read some of them and just ignored the others. That point didn't seem so valid any more. After moving three times a year as a college student (home, school, wherever I was for the summer) I have two shelves of books I consider my core library, the ones I want to have with me all the time. I just need to keep in mind that most of the books I read aren't going to belong to that core library, and if I need them in the future, I can always check them out from the library. I also gave away two of them to a friend who stopped by, who I thought would enjoy them more than I would.

All that said, I did mooch a book and buy another this weekend, so don't applaud me just yet. The mooch was the classic Los Angeles tell-all HOLLYWOOD BABYLON, and the book was A.J. Jacobs' THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY, because I have a book club meeting this week and that's what we're discussing. (Procrastinate, moi? Nahhh.) Plus, my transactions netted me a cool 10 points on BookMooch, so when I do want to add to my collection again, I'll be able to do that. (You can mooch a book from someone in your own country for one point, or from another country for two.)

How do you manage your library?

No comments: