Pruning the Bookshelves

A few weeks ago D and I brought home a beautiful bookcase that used to belong in his childhood home. We knew exactly where it would fit in our apartment, but this new arrangement required that we downsize the current bookshelves. Two Ikea bookshelves completely filled with our intellectual life for the past 15 years, to be exact. Every time we’d move to a new apartment, we were the people with boxes and boxes of books. There was a point in time when I was proud of this; the books were our trophies and pieces of ourselves. Now I’m feeling like a good portion of them are dead weight: Books that I haven’t read since college from religion classes- books on Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Paperbacks of classics that are now available as free ebooks. Novels I know won’t be read again. First, we decided to put aside the books that we couldn’t part with. Then the “easy to say goodbye” pile was put into boxes. The rest, for me at least, had to pass the “do I have a connection with it?” and “will I read this again?” test. The art books are in a separate bookcase altogether and I don’t see a reason to part with any of them.

Some of the books I can’t part with in chronological order of acquisition (sort of): The Saturdays, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Fahrenheit 451, Catcher in the Rye, et al., The Bhagavad-Gita, The Secret History, Howard’s End, Wind Up Bird Chronicles, Kitchen, The Beauty Supply District, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Everything is Illuminated, House of Leaves, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.

Which of your books could you never part with?

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