Saturday, April 23, 2022

Sharing Our Stories: " ... the fine mingling of letting go and holding on"

As soon as I read the quote that Ruth shared with this week's prompt, I knew I would write about books. We've arrived at that age where we know that downsizing is in our future. For some time, I've been weeding my books. But it's a long process. 

First, I worked with my educational books. I've prided myself that I had moved from four shelves of professional books to one shelf. But that's not really true, for I've scattered my poetry books onto two other shelves where they gladly mingle with my memoir writing books. 

Then I worked with the books that I haven't read. I created one shelf of them sometime ago, but I made myself drag out the box of books in my closet and add them to the shelves. And now I have two shelves of books I want to read someday and that was after I donated more than a few to the library book sale. I made trips to the donation bin at our library almost every day this past week.

And for my middle of the night meanderings, I emptied my nightstand which has a shelf full of visible books and a door which conceals (you guessed it!) more stacks of books. Many of my books have come from library book sales or were given to me as gifts. I've tried really hard not to purchase new books, but it's a slippery slope. Just yesterday, I phoned my favorite indie bookstore and ordered a book that I need to own since I plan to read and highlight and discuss it with a friend. 

What on earth prompted me to empty the nightstand in the middle of the night? I was in search of a certain book that I borrowed from my brother and will return to his daughter when I travel to Texas at the end of the month. And I found it - Pat Conroy's My Reading Life! My brother and I share a mutual affection for books. I loved opening the book to his embossed book stamp, running my fingers over the KES stamped inside, and knowing that he had lovingly placed it there. Our love of books has been a constant through all the years we shared together.

Here are the results from Saturday's early morning book harvest. If you look very closely, you'll see that the stack on the left (keepers) is just barely lower than the stack on the right (books to donate). I welcome tips from fellow bibliophiles on how to let go. Because for now, holding on and letting go are in a neck-to-neck race.

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  1. Yes! I am a kindred spirit in being in that neck and neck journey. Thanks for sharing.

  2. You've got some of my favorites here! I love everything Pat Conroy and everything Richard Russo (Empire Falls is a special favorite for my husband), and I always have a soft spot for The Wednesday Sisters. Trying to decide which books to let go is so hard--I don't do a great job with it either!