I’ve been going through my books selecting which to keep and which to donate to charity. We don’t have the space for them all. But it’s really hard. I love each and every one of them. I have gotten better at this kind of thing though. When I was younger I wouldn’t have gotten rid of anything. Now I can do it, prioritizing saving space over keeping things, even if it hurts.
It helps that the internet is a thing now. I really started hoarding books when I was in my early twenties and lived in the middle of nowhere without a car, cable TV, or internet. I only went into town once a week and would check out several library books, but inevitably I would finish them all before I could get more and I became desperate for reading material. I read everything in the house, even my mom’s Reader’s Digest condensed books (which I thought were pretty lame) and it wasn’t enough. So I started collecting books cheaply however I could, usually at used book sales. Sometimes friends would give me books they’d bought and read and didn’t want anymore. I felt like I couldn’t have too many books. The more I had, the less likely that I would ever feel that desperation for reading material ever again. I hated that feeling.
Now with the internet, that problem is obsolete. I can find lots to read online. And I can download borrowed library e-books to my tablet whenever I want. Unlike some people, I don’t mind reading books on an e-reader or tablet. It’s preferable, in fact, because I can change the font according to my preference and I can read in bed when I can’t sleep without needing to turn on a lamp. Plus, holding an e-reader or tablet doesn’t hurt my hypermobile fingers the way holding a book sometimes does.
But still, as I do my book purge, I wonder, what if there’s an apocalypse? What if society breaks down to the point where there is no internet anymore? I will regret giving up my books. I know it sounds preposterous, but it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility. I am trying not to think like that though. If I don’t want to be crushed to death one day by a falling pile of books, I have to do this.
Some books are relatively easy to part with now. For example, the ones on personality type. I used to be very interested in that subject because I knew I was different and was trying to find an explanation for it. Now I’ve figured out why I’m different. Mystery solved. I don’t need those books anymore.
As a side note, I do still find it interesting that when it comes to Myers-Briggs typology, both I and the friend who inspired me to start this blog, who was diagnosed with autism in adulthood, are INFJ. My husband is INTJ. And all the women I’ve had serious interpersonal conflict with in my adult life, including my mother, are ESFJ. ESFJs tend to judge and disapprove of me and, even worse, try to fix me. It does not go well.
So there are definite patterns there, and recognizing them has given me some insight into my relationships. But if I ever find myself wanting to read up on all that again, there’s a lot of information online. The books can go.
I’m glad I have reached a stage of growth in my life where I can let go of things. It took a long time to get here.