Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Epiphany upended.

Okay, keeping it real here. My lovely epiphany from last post is baloney and nonsense. I can not decide. Wouldn't I enjoy being enriched? Educated? Enlightened? There are some books I could let go no problem (but I already got rid of them, so where does that get me now?).

Here is an example of something I have, tried to purge many times, can not, but also can not see myself actually ever reading. The Gulag Archipelago, by Solzhenitsyn.

A classic. People either rave or roll their eyes, or start blankly when this title is mentioned. I have never heard, "Well, it was alright. " I fell entirely void of the intellect needed to read and understand this book. And yet, I feel in needs to be read. So I put it back on my shelf.

Another. Small is Beautiful, by E.F. Schumacher. I actually read portions of this book in college, and wholeheartedly, in a completely idealistic way, support the premise here. But will I ever really read this book again? Somehow, I doubt it. Same with Pilgrim at Tinker Creed, by Annie Dillard. Loved it in college. Own it, probably won't read it again. And so on. I am spinning my wheels here. As I go through the shelves, I have maybe eliminated 5 books. Out of 5 book cases full. This is not good. I need to pray more about this, I can see that for certain!

5 Comments:

Blogger Mimi said...

One thing that I remind my boss often is if you let it go, and want to read it again - how hard would it be to find another copy? Unless it is a rare book, the answer is not very, so let it go.

I've only read Cancer Ward by Solzhenitsyn but would like to read the Gulag at some point.

April 27, 2010  
Blogger Melanie B said...

This probably won't be helpful at all. In fact, probably unhelpful in the extreme. But when faced with books like those, nes I would like to have read or that I have an attachment to but probably won't re-read, I often frame the decision to keep them in terms of my children. Is this a book one of them might enjoy or benefit from? Would I be happy to see them reading it?

I do think there is room to tease out a distinction between wanting to boast about a book and realizing that it is a worthwhile book to have in a home library even if you won't likely read it because your children might benefit from it.

My thinking on books has changed quite a bit since having children. There were quite a few books on my shelves I had sentimental attachments to, which I enjoyed very much at a different phase of my life, but which I recognized I would not want to fall into a child's hands unsupervised. Out they went. Oh it does require some soul-searching, though, doesn't it?

April 27, 2010  
Blogger Crazy Mama said...

Remember Grandma Cain's apartment! Just saying...

April 27, 2010  
Blogger Mary Poppins NOT said...

Actually, for a woman 91 years old, she had very few books. Now scrap books and photo albums are a different story, but really, you could tell she had pared down many times in her life.

April 27, 2010  
Blogger Kate said...

I can't help - I've pared down several times over the last 6 years, but I acquire books at a similar speed, so I'm still always short book case space. I did kind of chuckle at your last post because I have so many 'Great Books' from college and elsewhere that I just can't get rid of. I dream that one day I will once again be that woman who can delve into deep and intellectually challenging fare, and when I do I'm going to want to have it RIGHT THERE, in arm's reach, LOL.

What I have had success in winnowing is trade and mass market novels. Even novels that I have enjoyed countless times have gone out the door without being more than occasionally missed. Those are the ones, after all, that are easy to find elsewhere. So...goodbye to the bulk of my mysteries and science fiction novels. Now I buy them (at 25 cents each) from the library book sale, keep them a while, then donate them back again.

April 27, 2010  

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