Saturday, November 16, 2013

De-Accessioning


We have too many books. There are book shelves everywhere and too often they are overloaded -- books stacked in front of books.  There are books in closets, under beds, stacked on stairs, and beside chairs. Every now and then I make an attempt to go through the books, decide which ones I will never re-read, and pack them up to go to the library booksale. 
 
There's a start -- I enjoyed these Elmore Leonard books (passed on to me by a friend who was also de-accessioning) but I'm pretty sure I won't be wanting to re-read them.

It's painful, making these decisions but it has to be done -- maybe another day I'll feel more ruthless.

So then I went to the library to meet a friend and return to her a book she'd lent me. 

While I was waiting, I found myself perusing the book sale -- always a bargain at $1 per hardback and 50 cents for paperbacks, Today, however, everything was half price. 

I brought home seven books for $3.50 -- let me explain.

  Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman -- I have most of Hillerman's books and reread them every few years. I didn't have this one. Now I do.

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. I loved this when I listened to it on my Kindle. I know I'll enjoy reading it and getting even more of the story that way. Things that I read 'stick' much better than things that I hear.

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler -- I've never yet been disappointed by Anne Tyler. I look forward to reading this one.

Marrying the Mistress   by Joanna Trollope - this was the one I began at once. A British comedy of manners -- perhaps a bit predictable but well drawn characters and family intrigue always grab me. I enjoyed it -- but will I reread it? Hmmm. 

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe -- I already have this in a recording and as the fourth book in a one volume trilogy (yes, I know, but this is Douglas Adams - ordinary rules don't apply.)

A Traveler's Companion - a collection from Harper's Magazine  -- this is a real treat! Essays from the late 1800s with titles like 'The Lords of the Sahara,' 'East and West Ends of London,' 'Domestic and Court Customs of Persia,'  'In the Garden of China,' 'Wild Mountain Tribes of Borneo,' 'Characteristic Parisian Cafes' ...  and great illustrations... 


This is back when travel was really adventure -- and not for the faint-hearted or poorly funded.

Where will I go first? 'In Folkestone Out of Season,' 'The Slave Market at Marrakesh,' or "Campaigning with the Cossacks?'
 
Or maybe to Shangri-La . . . I was delighted to find this lovely illustrated edition of Hilton's classic Lost Horizons. My paperback copy is almost fifty years old. 

Aha! Another book for the de-accessioning box. I feel so proud.
 
Posted by Picasa

24 comments:

Ms. A said...

So, you got rid of a few and brought in a few. Hmmmmm... was that the way it was supposed to work? LOL!

Be glad it's only books you have too many of. I have too many of everything.

katy gilmore said...

I loved this post. I guess there is such a thing as too many books. We have too many books. But I don't have, haven't read that particular Joanna Trollope - I love to read her and wonder what her grandfather would think. If I lived closer, I'd borrow that one. And then there are some I could pass on to you!

Vicki Lane said...

Katy, email me your address and it will be my pleasure to send the Trollope to you. (I expect her grandfather would be proud.)

Margie said...

Hi Vicki, I loved this post so much, as it brought up the joy if reading for me, I am currently undergoing chemotherapy and find it hard to concentrate at times during the chemo cycle. I have four books on the go at the moment, and it's slow but rewarding progress. Only yesterday I took some books off the cluttered book shelves not to pass along but to restack elsewhere. Big hugs, Margie ❤️

Miss_Yves said...

I know the same problem about my librairies, so ,I understand you!

Great idea to write a post and to explain your choices!

Mary Anne Rudolph said...

Only a couple of miles from my house, on hwy 321, is Our Place, new and used books AND organic coffee. I am hopelessly addicted. Another problem is that I go to our local library in Newport frequently and bring back armloads of books I have to read FIRST, of course. I do have a stack of books to 'trade in' at Our Place so I can get even more books, or maybe a DVD, or a jigsaw puzzle. We did get rid of hundreds of books when we moved here, mostly college stuff. I was a literature major. Need I say more?

Kath Marsh said...

I can identify 100%!

JudyB said...

Since our house is under construction and we'll be moving halfway across the country in a few months, I've been seriously trying to "de-accession" also. I'm not doing a very good job of it. I look at each book and it seems like an old friend.

KarenB said...

I did this over the course of a year and a half. The dining room table had piles: pending, library, keeping. One pile/box of books at a time would be brought and I would pick up a book and think, "do I really love it? do I want to reread it?" if the answer was yes, it went into the keep pile. If I couldn't decide, pending. At the end of the day, nineteen boxes went to the library sale. I know there will be a few that I will think of and wish I hadn't gotten rid of, but there is always the library and, of course, my kindle which fast accumulates books that take up no shelf space.

Frances said...

Vicki, how can one possibly have too many books? I completely understand how to "double stack" bookshelves, and how to make interesting book ziggurats when there is no available shelf. Oh yes, I know all about it.

A few years ago, I did my own de-accessioning, and since then have pretty much been relying on The New York Society Library for quenching my book thirst. However, on my recent UK trip, I could not keep myself from buying two books. One was purchased from my friends at Persephone Books and the other was bought as a reminder of my visit to Kettle's Yard. Both will be keepers.

xo

Star said...

It's just the same in our house Vicki. I did a lot of de-commissioning when Larry was set to come over and he did the same whilst still in America. However! like you I still can't resist a bargain. I just love reading... Hop over to my blog to get Larry's latest take on Life in the U.K.?

jennyfreckles said...

Oh, a familiar tale...

Tammy said...

Oh. I am so so sorry. The pitiful little (not very full) box at the end of the post says it all. Is there any chance you can build on?

(I laughed all the way through this post--so understand and feel your pain).

Tammy

Tammy said...

Oh. I am so so sorry. The pitiful little (not very full) box at the end of the post says it all. Is there any chance you can build on?

(I laughed all the way through this post--so understand and feel your pain).

Tammy

Anonymous said...

We've got it slightly under control through ebooks, but even that doesn't help too much. In fact, there are now some books, including yours, that I own in both hardback and ebook, the originals and then ebook backups for when we travel and don't want to carry big bag full of books. There is no such thing as too many books of either kind.

Lynne in GA

Brian Miller said...

ha. i need to declutter the books...i purge occassionally to the used books store...and bring back a few too...i always figure the math works out where i am leaving more behind....smiles...

great breakfast at over easy...and all morning in the river arts district....woot...

Lise said...

Such bargains at 3.50! We have a bookstore here called City Lights (I'm sure you know it) that accepts and sells used books. It's one of our favorite places to go hang around and browse, and it makes de-accessioning (I've never heard that word before) easier. We also enjoy the great finds at various library bookstores...one persons discards is another persons treasure!

Brenda said...

This post made me laugh out loud! Probably because it sounds like precisely something that I would do. Too funny! Do you follow "Three Dog Blog?" I forget which of my blogger companions are connected with one another... she's a writer, and has recently begun a MFA course that has her reading all these interesting books. If you don't already read her blog, you should check it out!

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Books are obsessive -- difficult to break the habit of buying more -- good luck --- barbara

Victoria said...

"Too many books." For me, that's just not possible! I did start duplicating my favorite books on my Kindle with the intention of getting rid of the actual books...but I still have the actual books. I can't bear to part with them!

Vicki Lane said...

Lalalala (fingers in ears) I can't hear you Brenda! What are you thinking, sending me to a blog about MORE books? Okay, I took a quick peek but escaped without making a list (though the Didion book sounded- NO! Get thee behind me, Brenda!)

Ms. A -- I, too, have too much of everything and am trying to work on that as well.

Margie -- Hugs back at you...you are in my heart.

Mary Anne -- Step 1: We came to realize that we were powerless over books and our shelves had become unmanageable. (A friend on Facebook posted that in her comment about today's post.)

And like several of you, I have some books in several forms...

Vicki Lane said...

Lalalala (fingers in ears) I can't hear you Brenda! What are you thinking, sending me to a blog about MORE books? Okay, I took a quick peek but escaped without making a list (though the Didion book sounded- NO! Get thee behind me, Brenda!)

Ms. A -- I, too, have too much of everything and am trying to work on that as well.

Margie -- Hugs back at you...you are in my heart.

Mary Anne -- Step 1: We came to realize that we were powerless over books and our shelves had become unmanageable. (A friend on Facebook posted that in her comment about today's post.)

And like several of you, I have some books in several forms...

Merisi said...

You are one brave woman! :-)

Will you let us know about the Anne Tyler novel, once you have read it? I like her a lot. I always think of William Trevor when her name comes up, Alice Munro, too (I dare say these are all authors who do not write happy go lucky books, but boy, they know how to write and tell stories of seemingly ordinary people, IMO).

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I did the same thing the other day and it almost broke my husband's back toting the boxes to the library resale shop. Believe it or not, there were some (gasp) cookbooks in the piles. But I feel free, at least for the moment...
Sam