Sunday, July 4, 2010

Keeper of Books

I love books.  No big surprise, huh?  I love the feel, the smell, the potential.  Books are small dormant packages capable of holding life-changing creativity.  Not to mention that they make fabulous shelf objects.

I love to own books.  I don't feel right unless I have piles of books around me.  Options on how to spend my day; friends beckoning with alluring looks and quiet voices.  I might take my e-reader on vacation, but I still bring a real book (or four) with me to keep me company.  I love to see them on my shelves, smiling down at me--remembering bursts of laughter and silent tears, aloof books inviting me to become a new old friend.

But I don't keep every book I read.  I don't even keep every book I enjoy.  I don't buy books simply to build my library, nor do I keep books to show all I've read.  I scour my shelves once or twice a year, looking for those that are ready for a new home, willing to make space for recent acquisitions.  If I love a book so much that the characters pop into my mind unbidden; if I want everyone I will ever know to have the chance to read it; if I am ridiculously proud that I've read such a ridiculously long book with a ridiculously prestigious reputation written a ridiculously long time ago; or, occasionally, if I think my children may be interested in it at some point when it will no longer be easily accessible at a library; it stays on my shelf.

Unlike my older brother whose book shelf apparently only reflects the books he didn't like enough to pass on.

What do you keep on your shelf?


  1. Hi Melody,
    I'm with you: I enjoy having books but I'm not sentimental about them. I want to keep the books I really love, or that I think someone I love will want to read but otherwise, I haven't got the space! Plus, I don't have the money to keep buying and buying. I'm a library-once-a-week kinda girl.
    BTW, I exactly agree with what you said about In Defense of Food!
    Hope you're having a great weekend,

  2. I keep everything unless I seriously hated it and can't fathom reading it again. I keep books I loved, books I couldn't finish because maybe I will one day..I also collect first editions and old hardbacks, so I have those..I'm surrounded!

  3. I have exactly the same book keeping philosophy! I have almost more books in my home that are waiting to be read than those that have been read.

  4. I have a "permanent" collection, with my all-time favorites, signed books, and classics that really formed me as a reader. I also have huge section of books to read. Otherwise I have become a lot more aggressive about passing books on or only reading them on an ereader. Coincidentally, I just posted a tour of my bookshelves on my blog if you want to check it out (warning, it's long).


  5. I like hearing how you guys keep books (or don't). You reminded me that I do have a small collection of old books as well.


I'd love to hear what you have to say, leave a comment!