Thursday, August 9, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Multiples

August 9, 2007

Booking Through Thursday* asks:

Do you have multiple copies of any of your books? If so, why? Absent-mindedness? You love them that much? First Editions for the shelf, but paperbacks to read? If not, why not? Not enough space? Not enough money? Too sensible to do something so foolish?

For many, many years, Dr. and I were book collectors. We didn't collect rare books or first editions, just books we liked and/or books that were considered classics. Our plan was to have a used bookstore/coffee shop. (This was way before bookstore/coffee shop combos were the strip-mall du jour.) We spent many hours scouring used bookstores and thrift stores for books. We always kept the first copy of any purchase for ourselves, and shelved duplicate copies next to our own. Because I take strange pleasure in keeping track of things, I kept a chart to record all of our books, even marking when a book was borrowed and by whom. (I would have loved LibraryThing back then; now I have no time for it.)

There are two problems with all these books: 1) the need for more bookshelves and 2) moving. Our assortment of odd bookshelves began taking over our tiny apartments. And boxing up all those books for each move, phew! What sweat.

And then there comes the having of children, who come readily equipped with books. What begins with Good-Night Moon and Pat-the-Bunny morphs into three children with another half-dozen bookshelves. And if children themselves didn't necessitate books, there comes homeschooling and, naturally, we must go with the literature-based Sonlight and its hundreds of books.

And so. At some point, I began giving away duplicates. I believe I gave a box to my niece, who is a fellow bibliophile. And I gave a box to a friend, who was missing some important books in her own collection. I don't remember the rest, but we have released ourselves from nearly all of our duplicates. More recently, I have actually begun going through our own collection and doing away with books I didn't really like or don't plan on ever reading again--and either taking them to our favorite used bookstore (for more book credit, of course) or trading them out on Paperback Swap. I am slowly coming to terms with this: I don't have to keep every book I've ever read. And I certainly don't need two copies of them.

But those empty spaces on the shelves are filled immediately, and we are always in need of another bookshelf.

(*Want to post your own ramblings on this topic? Click on the Booking Through Thursday link above.)

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