Books on the Nightstand discussion

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Podcast Episode Discussions > Michael's Big Purge

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message 1: by Karin (new)

Karin | 74 comments So, Michael, since you're getting rid of so many unread books, will you have to change the name of the podcast? LOL


message 2: by NonniFitz (new)

NonniFitz | 1 comments Hi Michael. I just did a 90% purge about two months ago. I had to - these southern California tract homes do not have storage and my books were monopolizing one whole bedroom. I had to ruthlessly do it in one weekend or I would have changed my mind. I dropped off two van loads of books at our local Friends of the Library. I have to admit I shed a few tears on the way home.
Post Script - My daughter came home to visit last weekend. She asked if I had any books to donate to her volunteer organization working with foster youth. I am now currently buying back as many of the 100 or so of my pristine condition children's and middle grade books I can find at the Friends of the Library. :)


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
There will always be books on the nightstand Karin!


message 4: by Karin (new)

Karin | 74 comments As a book sorter for our Friends of the Library Book Sale, I whole heartedly encourage book purging!


message 5: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
I always just eat a can of corn.


message 6: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) I can't giveaway a book unless I have at least tried to read it. (The exception being Eldest because Eragon was enough for me, thank you)
That is why my bookshelves will always be double-stacked.


message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Bramlett | 15 comments I recently read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I went on a book purge too. I had like 6 big boxes full of books (still haven't found one) and got it down to one and half. It was very liberating I think. At first it was hard but then it was freeing to get rid of books I probably wasn't interested in anymore because of time passing and my interests had changed.


message 8: by Rita (new)

Rita | 147 comments This along with Simon's book buying ban (from The Readers) has prompted me to purge some books and read only backlist for 2015. I currently have enough books to last me 5 years of reading (if I average 2 books a week). And that doesn't include ebooks.


message 9: by Janet (new)

Janet (justjanet) | 790 comments For those of you who are purging, message me and I will send you my address....lol.


message 10: by Jo Ann (new)

Jo Ann | 99 comments Yep, I agree with Janet - my Little Free Library could use them! :-)
And, special thanks to my Goodreads friends who have already sent some of their purses for the LFL - very appreciated!


message 11: by Gerald (new)

Gerald Miller | 808 comments I collected a lot of books thru BOMC and The Literary Guild (ho ho ho) so I got a number of books I could never read. They are my basement books.


message 12: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (akinderman) I never like to purge, only collect lol. I keep an eye out for book lots online and frequent library sales but would also love to be the recipient of a generous book purger (is that a word?) hahahaha.


message 13: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
Michael, I'm reading "Beloved" by Toni Morrison. Fantastic book!

The reason I mention it is that it's been sitting on my shelf for 27 years and I've finally gotten around to it. That happens every now and then. A book you've neglected becomes one of your favorites. Keep that in mind as you purge.


message 14: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) Janet wrote: "For those of you who are purging, message me and I will send you my address....lol."

I'm with Janet on this one.
I love giving away books (the ones I have read) but I also enjoying being on the receiving end - I don't like to think that there was one that got away!!


message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
Eric wrote: "...it's been sitting on my shelf for 27 years and I've finally gotten around to it. That happens every now and then. A book you've neglected becomes one of your favorites. Keep that in mind as you purge. "

That is so true Eric, but, for where I am right now, the physical and emotional real estate occupied by books I *might* read at some point in the future can be better used in other ways.

Yes, there's something to be said for shopping your shelves and seeing what strikes your fancy at that moment, and I've definitely kept many unread books for that very purpose!!
But, I've decided that, if in the future I decide to read a book that I used to have, I will get it from the library. If they don't have it, I'll re-buy it and read it immediately.


message 16: by Jo Ann (new)

Jo Ann | 99 comments I love your "physical and emotional real estate" terminology, Michael! That's a keeper!


message 17: by Marie Claude (new)

Marie Claude (mariecg2001) | 5 comments Michael wrote: "I've decided that, if in the future I decide to read a book that I used to have, I will get it from the library. If they don't have it, I'll re-buy it and read it immediately...."

That's what I decided to do when I started to purge a few months ago... After all there are not that many unread books I purchased 15-20 years ago that are still in my reading list now... we change and our taste in reading changes... 20 years ago I read fantasy, I rarelly read that nowadays, so why should I keep the fantasy books I didn't read when fantasy was my passion... if it comes back, libraries and used book stores are there for that! ;o)


message 18: by Elizabeth (last edited Feb 17, 2015 05:55PM) (new)

Elizabeth A (kisiwa) | 193 comments As an immigrant who had to leave all my beloved books behind when my family moved, I spent a decade or so building back my library, and it took me a while to realize that what I was doing was really book hoarding for emotional reasons.

Not only did I spend a ridiculous amount on books, but I also paid to have said books moved across the country. Several times. About 15 or so years ago I decided to stop buying books. I went cold turkey, got a library card, and started to address the underlying issues around my book hoarding. It took me a couple of years before I could walk into a bookstore, browse, and be able to walk out again without a bagful of books.

The arrival of epubs and ereaders changed everything for me. We've purged our shelves over the past two years, and have donated about 150 boxes of books to our library book sales. Like Michael, I've found letting the books go lightened me emotionally, mentally and real estate wise.

Sure, I've held on to some books, but no more than I can easily transport in a couple of car loads. And while I still occasionally buy books, my hoarding days are behind me.


message 19: by Eve (new)

Eve (eveariel) | 13 comments I am on the brink of another book purge and need to keep Michael's comment about "the physical and emotional real estate occupied by books I *might* read at some point " in mind as I sort. We did a big purge before our last move and have done purges associated with each move (we move every 3 years or so courtesy of my husband's job).

What makes our situation both interesting and informative at the moment is that we have a toddler - who has his own growing collection of books and a Goodreads account to go with them. Said toddler likes to pull books off of shelves and throw them around. He also spent a lot of time carrying Seamus Heaney's North around this summer which was rather sweet. When we stocked the shelves in the new house we left books boxed up so he wouldn't destroy them.

I'm not missing a whole lot of them ... which says something. I kept out books that I have been intending to read most of which I currently avoid making eye contact with. While some of that may be due to a lack of energy/time/stamina I think it is saying something about me and my books and that we are due for another good purge before we leave AK. Someone in another community (Ravelry I think) mentioned a desire for a well curated collection of loved books and that is what I think I would like across the board - cookbooks, knitting, fiction, non-fiction, and e-books (how I do most of my reading now) too.

It is hard (the whole letting go of who I used to be vs who I am now) but I think it will be good especially with a goal like that in mind.


message 20: by Readnponder (new)

Readnponder | 125 comments I need help understanding what "physical and emotional real estate" means. I presume that physical real estate means the books take up too much space. Yes, storage space is a perennial problem. What does emotional real estate refer to?

I have a collection of used books that I have accumulated over the years from various library sales. I figure if it costs 50 cents or a dollar, it's OK if I don't end up liking it or even reading it.

A favorite pastime is shuffling through my stash of books to select my next read. I like sorting them and then re-sorting them. (e.g. by author, by genre, by priority) Just touching them gives me pleasure. Some people have a closet full of clothes; I have a closet full of books.
Do they have support groups for people like me?


message 21: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2764 comments Mod
Readnponder wrote: "I need help understanding what "physical and emotional real estate" means. I presume that physical real estate means the books take up too much space. Yes, storage space is a perennial problem. ..."

Yes, it's called Books on the Nightstand!


message 22: by Eric (last edited Feb 19, 2015 01:30PM) (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
Emotional real estate = the total amount of shits you can give at a given time. Greater than a rat's ass.

If your emotional real estate is fully occupied, you've reached the point where you can't even.

When you can't even, no one should expect you to.

Here are some Renaissance babies who can't even. They are lacking in any additional emotional real estate:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahjewell/...

Hope this helps.


message 23: by Janet (new)

Janet (justjanet) | 790 comments There are parts of the country where "physical" real estate is not so expensive. Thankfully, I live in one of them. However, if I ever have to move those books, I'll likely be whistling a different tune as I care more about my back than my books.


message 24: by Michael (last edited Feb 20, 2015 08:51AM) (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
Readnponder wrote: "I need help understanding what "physical and emotional real estate" means. I presume that physical real estate means the books take up too much space. Yes, storage space is a perennial problem. What does emotional real estate refer to?"

For me, emotional real estate means the overwhelming feeling I sometimes had when I saw all of the books I owned, knowing I would never get to them all. Yes, there were times when being surrounded by all of those books was a great feeling. Maybe if I had a beautiful, dedicated room with built-in bookshelves, I'd want to keep every book I used to have. But seeing them scattered in piles around the house only reminds of what I haven't read. Now, when I look at all of the books I chose to keep, neatly organized on a few bookcases in one place, I can see them all and enjoy them.

Please don't get me wrong. I love books, I'm just choosing to surround myself with the books that truly matter to me.


message 25: by Sandy (new)

Sandy I have been slowly cleaning out my shelves for about a year, deciding whether to read immediately or eliminate. Most books have gone to charity, but lately there has been a "little library" set up in my neighborhood so I can leave books there - and hopefully bring home fewer than I leave! I use the city library almost exclusively now; I only buy books at charity sales. I actually read the library books in a timely fashion - having a deadline is often a good thing.


message 26: by Marie Claude (new)

Marie Claude (mariecg2001) | 5 comments Decided to do some more purging this weekend and proved how it might be rewarding to "shop" in our own shelves sometimes! LOL

Found out I already owned 2 books I want to read: Wolf Hall and An Instance of the Fingerpost. Can't wait to see what I will discover on my next visit LOL

Oh! and just by looking around quickly, I got 80 books out of my shelves :)


message 27: by Vera (new)

Vera (vvrcpa) | 68 comments We are downsizing. Old house sold. New house is less than half the size of the old. I didn't count the number of books I culled and donated, but my shelves feel bare! I feel like an empty nester!!!!


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