Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Art of Book Purging

I was reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Facebook post the other day. (Remember, Prairie Friends, to "friend" Elizabeth on Facebook.  Her posts are both entertaining and inspiring.)  Elizabeth was posting about a major decluttering binge.  She got rid of 95% of her books. (GASP!!!  Had Elizabeth forgotten that she was an author and needed to keep up a scholarly image?)  She went on to say that she felt much lighter and more creative since getting rid of so many books and so much clutter.  Her post caused me to look at the books in my life.  

Here is one of my main bookshelves, which is representative of all of my bookshelves:  
This shelf says "Hot Mess" not "Oh my!  Eydie is SO smart."

As you can see, it is piled with books, disorganized, and not a lovely, calm focal point for my living room.  On top of the books I have stacked gift cards, book marks, and receipts that I don't want to enter into my budget notebook.  

I asked myself - Prairie Eydie why are you keeping all of these books? The answer?  Ego.  I like to be identified as scholarly, smart, and someone who is well read.  Hmmm.  Do I really need to store books, in a house that is already cluttered with three young children, to prove something to my ego?  

As I scanned through the titles, it was apparent that many of the books were books I intended to read at one time.  And many of them belonged to Prairie Sherry.   Few of the unread books looked like anything I would willingly trade sleep for to read.  On the other hand, many of the shelved books were books I adored.  But I had no intention to reread the adored books.  I just like to periodically read the titles and think, "That was SUCH a good book."   (There are so many awesome books out there that I rarely reread fiction. The list of books I do reread is super short:  To Kill a Mockingbird, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Long Winter.)  

I LOVE Warren Zevon and am ecstatic that one of his quotes actually fits into a blog.

So, I began a book purge.  This purge included all the vintage Hardy Boys books I was keeping for my sons to read.   The boys have shown absolutely no interest in reading these dusty "classics" because Young Adult fiction nowadays (Is nowadays really a word?) is so awesome.  

I also passed on the board books my five year old has out grown. This was hard to do, because I have so many memories of reading The Lady with the Alligator Purse and Mr. Brown Can Moo to my kids.  But.  I envisioned other parents reading these great books to their kids, and I passed them on.  (Confession.  I kept Goodnight Gorilla.  Somethings are just sacred.)

Once again, I was left with all the books I would reread if there weren't so many other books I want to read for the first time.  So.  I decided to choose 5 of these books and send them to people who I thought would enjoy reading them.  Former book club friends came to mind.  I was okay passing the books on, knowing they will continue to be read, and not just clutter up shelves in my house.

Always a good idea. 
I purged well over 70 books!  (10 of them Hardy Boy books - but still a valiant effort.)  I am exhausted, so now it is your turn.

Tah dah!!!  Here is my bookshelf "post purge."
Prairie Eydie

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