24 July 2009

Primed for bookbuying

Remember Unbookening Hero Jessa Crispin who was preparing for a move to Berlin? She revealed on Bookslut that she got her collection of about 1500 volumes down to 17. Incredible! And also kind of scary. Crispin writes:
It's actually nice to admit to yourself that really, if we're all being honest here, you are not going to read WAR AND PEACE, probably ever, so give it to someone who might. It was just that, over and over again. Then you drink your vodka and watch nice young men come over and take your books away in crates and hope the books find better lives.
It's the admitting part where I run into trouble. I still believe I will get around to THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG and VANITY FAIR and THE COLLECTED STORIES OF RICHARD YATES*, so it would be foolish to give any of those away. I've got a lot of good reading years left! As does Crispin, which is why I hope she's out doing a massive rebookening right now. (Or would it be just a bookening? Will someone please adjudicate my fake words?)

*My most spectacular used score of the year so far, out of print and practically pristine from Kaboom Books in Houston, but also a hardcover rivaling INFINITE JEST in size. On the bright side, I'm used to carrying around IJ now, a habit that could be transferred to other books.


Wade Garrett said...

I could not get mine down to 17, but, when I moved from my spacious/cheap midwestern apartment to my first tiny Manhattan shoebox, I left all of my books except for about twenty favorites in my parents' attic. That's cheating a little bit, because I knew I could always retreive them if I needed them; I wasn't giving them away entirely. But paring my collection down to the amount I could fit on a single shelf was an interesting process - which books that I have already read can I not live without, and which books I have yet to read will I realistically (key word) read sometime soon? I suspect I may never get around to the 700-page biography of Wiliam Randolph Hearst, though I'm sure its fascinating, and the same is true of most of the 'classics' I own, with the possible exception of the ones that are on those 'best' lists that you and Fletcher and Lauren and 8yearoldsdude and I love to blog about whenever they are published.

Ellen said...

In a weird way I think 17 would probably be a much easier cull than, say, 50, when you get into books you like a lot but might be able to live without, and which you really want to read but not in the next few months.