The Agony of Sorting My Books

See Life, and all that for my last general update.

Well, it’s been some time. Again. And for much the same reasons I had already shared. Life crept up on me, and work crept up on me, and the future bludgeoned me with a frying pan while I was distracted by the other two.

Progress has been made, though. I know where I will be living, come fall, which is always reassuring. I will have a steadier income during the academic year than I had anticipated, so my savings have breathed a sigh of relief.

And I have begun the process of packing up all my worldly possessions to schlep across the Great State of Texas. (There really isn’t any word that encompasses the soul-crushing tedium of moving better than “schlep”.)

Now, please understand, I don’t actually own all that much in the way of furniture and such.

The bulk of it is books.

Books are heavy.

I had come to the conclusion late last year that the collective mass of my books was probably too great to be moved across Texas, and so I started sorting them then. The problem is that my stacks were labeled something like this:


I don’t have a problem. It’s not hoarding if it’s books. (I stand by this firmly, even though at last count, I had about 300 in my bedroom alone.)

But now I have to get to it in earnest. I can’t bring myself to throw away a book, so they’re all going to the shop at my local library, which adds some books to the library’s shelves and sells others incredibly cheap to give people a chance to grow libraries of their own. It’s a good system. I’m pleased to contribute to it. But it’s still painful to watch a box of my books disappear into their back room. It’s like saying goodbye to friends.

My old friends can make someone else happy, now. That’s my comfort as I part with them and hope I can whittle the collection down enough to fit into a single U-HAUL.

What book in your collection could  you never bear to lose?

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6 Responses to The Agony of Sorting My Books

  1. I couldn’t bear to let my collection of children’s books go. My daughters’ favorites will someday be my grandchildren’s favorites, I hope. If that’s not in the stars, I will continue to enjoy them myself!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I too have not been able to part with my children’s books or my complete collection of Sherlock Holmes. Plus,a cherished copy of a murder mystery written by a very dear old friend! @thedeerslayerswife !

    • MR Graham says:

      Must agree with you about Sherlock Holmes! I have an Easton Press edition, a gift from my great grandmother, that’s one of my most prized possessions.

  3. Randi Anderson says:

    Oh, man. I did this about five years ago, and I still miss some of those books. They’re like old friends I lost contact with. 🙁

    It’s hard to pin down a book I really couldn’t live without, though, if it came right down to it. Possibly my copy of “Abandonment to Divine Providence,” which contains a lot of underlining.

    • MR Graham says:

      Oh, definitely the ones that have been personalized. I’ve got plenty of books I love that I’d never voluntarily get rid of, but most of them could actually be replaced if they were lost or accidentally damaged. But the ones with notes in the margins – my own, my grandmother’s, my mother’s – can never be replaced. Neither can my autographed copies from friends, a couple of whom have passed away, now.

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