Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Transitions: The Culling

I have no idea if I’ll be living in the same apartment or even the same time zone a year from now, and the thought of having to move fills me with more horror than unemployment ever could. (True fact: when I moved into my current digs I still kept my old apartment for two months, because that’s about how long it took me and the Man Of The House to transport all of our stuff from Point A to Point B about 30 miles away.)

So I’ve set myself a goal of reducing the net volume and weight of my material possessions by at least 50 percent. The first thing I have to do is get rid of some books. A household census shows 14 bookcases in my apartment, ranging from little three-shelf jobs to an eight-foot-high black monstrosity bolted to the wall for safety. (Please don’t think I’m saying this to impress you with my bookishness. For every one piece I own with a title like Super-Intellectual Stuff Only Smart People Read, there’s about 50 pop-fiction novels, comic compendiums, and works of hardcore disaster porn.)

I donated about 250 pounds’ worth of books to the Salvation Army yesterday; that’s weight, not their value in British currency. Another dozen or so such trips should make a noticeable dent in the size of my book collection. And wouldn’t life be sweet if I could simply host a big bonfire in my backyard tonight?

Dang fire codes. But I won’t break them, especially not now that I might be starting a part-time gig working with a friend’s performance-art troupe political campaign. Imagine the embarrassment potential: “Candidate, you claim to stand for free speech and yet your press person over there was arrested for holding an illegal book-burning. How do you explain that?”


Anonymous iamagoldengod said...

If you don't mind my saying so. You are so spot on when you write this kind of stuff. While I enjoy your political/legislative stuff, Your observational, day in the life stuff is what makes me laugh out loud and rarely pisses me off!
More of this please!

12:12 PM  
Anonymous iamagoldengod said...

One more thing: Even the title made me spit a piece of potato chip onto my cinema display.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

You shouldn't get rid of your books, Jennifer. I know they're a lot of bother to haul from place to place - and to keep dusted - but hell, that's like throwing away part of yourself or your life! (especially the fiction and disaster porn.)

I, too, am something of a bibliophile having kept a copy of nearly every title I've ever read in my life. Shoot, I have paperback copies of Mike Hammer and James Bond novels that I've had since my teens. No, I'll probably never re-read them (again!), but they are there, if I wish to do so. When I was in my late twenties I sold my collection of Hardy Boys detective novels. Even though they purportedly went to a good home I've always sort of regretted their loss; it's as though part of my childhood has been wiped out by amnesia or phyco-trauma.

Keep your books - even the ones you now think are not worthwhile. You'll be glad of it someday.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

I'm still keeping a huge number of books, Smartass. But bear in mind, I live in a region where for a long time, there was a large and thriving secondhand book market where you could get paperbacks and hardcovers for as little as a dime. So there were a lot of books that I bought with the same mentality others have when they buy magazines: I'll read it once or twice, and some are worth saving but I have no intention at all of keeping them around forever.

Except I never got around to getting rid of most of mine. There's still tons (literally) of books I won't part with, but I can get rid of, for example, collections of mediocre columns from columnists I'd never heard of but was willing to try for ten cents apiece.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Oh, and thanks, Goldengod.

8:25 PM  

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