The Librarian of the Apocalypse

My house is filled with books. Like Elizabeth Bennet fictionally before me, I do not consider myself a “great reader.” I just love books. I love to buy them, check them out from the library, smell them, attempt to write them, touch them, look at them and occasionally dive in and read them. My house is filled with books.

My house is filled with books and there are over a hundred I have yet to read. I will find myself at a bookstore, online, at a garage sale, in the grocery store, staring at a book and it will pull me in with its tractor beam of knowledge. “I will be so much smarter, more interesting, happier, taller if I own that book,” my self says to myself. I then purchase the book and hold it and pet it and love it and put it on the shelf or in a pile by my bed where books go to die. My house is filled with books.

My house is filled with books and every so often I think it’s time to part ways with a few of them. Some have been sent to me to review and once I started to skim them, I realized that I was not interested in reading them. I don’t feel right selling a book that was sent to me for a review but went unreviewed because I did not think it would interest my readers. I don’t want to make money on that kind of booty so I keep the books. Some I think might be interesting to someone, somewhere, sometime and deep down in my heart I want to be the one to provide that perfect book to the person who wants it. In my pre-child bearing life I was a librarian. My house is filled with books.

My house is filled with books and I have truly convinced myself that I need to keep the collection going so that in post-apocalyptic Washington, my house can become the town library. I will sort and label and catalog all the books, even the ones I don’t like, because others on my street might like them. Should I keep the book on animal anatomy? Well. There’s a vet on my street and he might be post-apocalyptically interested in my animal anatomy book, especially if his books are all destroyed in the blast. My house is filled with books.

Today I made a decision.

Any book that I am only keeping around IN CASE I find myself in the position of being The Librarian of the Apocalypse is no longer welcome in my home. Today my house became filled with about 60 fewer books. When the apocalypse comes, you’d better have your own copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting because mine’s heading out the door. And also, what you can actually expect when you’re expecting during the apocalypse will probably not be covered in the edition I currently have on tap.

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16 Responses to The Librarian of the Apocalypse

  1. Mrs. M says:

    BOLD! I love getting rid of things I’m not using anymore or things I have been holding on to just in case. That would be a great title right there – Librarian of the Apocalypse – if you ever need a great title.

  2. Jann says:

    I have a serious book buying problem. But hey…if you have a vice, books are a pretty darn good one, I always say! I have also made the odd thrift store trip loaded with UNREAD books. I know it’s crazy. But I buy most of them used, so it’s not a huge financial outlay. Now I’m kind of interested in the electronic books, but I could never justify one given the shelves/boxes of “real” books in my sunroom! Thank you for giving me this new excuse for my habit. I, too, will become the librarian of my small town should the need ever arise. I always wondered what I wanted to be when I grew up. Yes, I’m a lurker. I’ve been lurking since before your son was born! Love your writing. You have a wonderful family. Thanks for sharing!

  3. grammyelin says:

    Smart move. I also get rid of stuff that is just adding to the clutter in my home.

    Anything that does not enrich my life needs to be gone from my personal space.

    It’s a good thing my husband and kids are so very enriching to me.

  4. Pam in Utah says:

    Hmmm. I l o v e my books. Can’t… do it, yet…. 🙂 Maybe later…. Heehehehhe

  5. Allison says:

    “I will be so much smarter, more interesting, happier, taller if I own that book,” my self says to myself.

    This is exactly why I own a whole bunch of really nice-looking leather-bound books I found at a flea market, including several Jane Austens that I have never been able to bring myself to read (I know, I know.) And yet I cannot part with them, because, you know, one day…

    I’m sure you’ll still find some sort of post-apolcalyptical use for the books you do hang on to. 🙂

  6. Emily says:

    I totally get it. I have shelves and shelves of books. I’ve read almost all of them, but I didn’t like them all and I certainly don’t intend to reread them all. But I always think “What if I need to let someone borrow it? What if they WANT to read an annoying/boring/poorly written book and I got rid of this??”

  7. Paige says:

    It’s HARD to get rid of books, isn’t it? Because they’re BOOKS, and books are good and necessary. But I agree, you should only keep books that you love. That YOU or your kids or your family are going to want to read. Good for you for purging that many books from your library! Don’t you feel just a little bit more free?

  8. Janel says:

    I love I feel no guilt about trading books.

  9. Emily says:

    I always think that I’ll get to them later. As in when my children are grown and I have peaked in my career and am retired with nothing to do but read books! Then I will read them!

  10. Heffalump says:

    I have thousands of books…close to three thousand the last time I counted them, and that was a few years ago, so who knows now…
    I have been thinking I need to purge some of them too, but…
    it’s hard. I too, love books. Heck, I even have double copies of some of them! If I find a book I love and it is a good deal, and I already have the book, but the one for sale is in better condition, you can bet I will get a second copy. (Our local library sells used children’s books for ten cents each…including novels and such as long as they are in the children’s section).
    Someday, I hope to be as strong as you!

  11. Tiffany says:

    I spend thousands of dollars on books every year. The taxpayers of Oklahoma kindly give me the money. The upside is that they all remain in my library and I can check them out any time I want. But I don’t have to store them, but I do share them! One of the reasons I became a professional librarian. 🙂

  12. Heather says:

    I love this post, and you should write a book, and the new picture of Wanda made my day… Magoo’s and Laylee’s are close seconds.

  13. Nana says: Send a book out into the world and you may be able to follow it. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” left in baby department at Target in CA — got a note on it from new mother in Wyoming, who was about to re-gift it similarly.
    It’s fun to find the ‘right’ place to leave each book, too!

  14. cheetah says:

    Mille and I were just talking yesterday about our own library collection. We are going to put labels in ours with our family name. But what is our family name? Does it include first names so that everyone will know it is our Norton family and not someone else’s Norton Family?? Just gets complicated!
    I’m not ready to get rid of books yet. I’m saving mine for the rolling staircase room we will have.

  15. Marian says:

    Librarian of the Apocolypse? That is the perfect description of this particular dysfunction! Hilarious!
    Don’t worry. Toss all the books you want. I’ve now taken the LotA mantel and, in case of apocolypse, will have your reading needs covered.

  16. You know, I was about to book declutter myself but the boyfriend issued this challenge: I bet my comic books will rival the number of your books soon.

    So I will not get rid of my books now just to prove him wrong. 🙂

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