I like reading. A lot. I was brought up surrounded by books, and learned that boredom doesn't exist if you have a choice of good books to read. Years ago, when I left London for Paris, I got rid of a lot of my books, but missed them so much I bought them all back on Amazon. It seems that however many books I give away I end up with more.
Every few months in Luxembourg the expat community have a book sale, and I come away with more books than I arrive with. And the thing is, I have a kindle now. So I can count the number of actual paper books I have bought on one hand in the last year. My kindle, however, already has 200+ books to its name.
And the time has come, with two weeks to go before I moved house, to pack up my bookshelves once again. A few weeks ago already I went through the shelves pretty ruthlessly and binned, yes, binned, about a hundred books. Binned. I know. Sacrilege. Don't hate me for book abuse - I feel bad enough about it as it is. But I had to free up some space in an emergency. If it helps I got rid of only trashy stuff. It doesn't help does it.
And so to now. Box 17 has been packed up, and there are still several shelves left to pack. Too many books. One box is full of paperbacks I haven't read yet. Three boxes are full of books bought for my daughters, to hopefully be loved and cherished in years to come. The rest? Books I will probably not read again, and if I do, I'd want to read them on my kindle. History books, classics, psychology books. Books about writing, about reading, about the English and French languages. Harry Potter, an obsessive range of historical fiction, books on the tarot, on ghosts, legends and mythology. Far too many Rough Guides on places I mean to visit one day, well out of date by now.
Do I keep the books on Paris? My daughters will want to go one day, but they will probably want their own books, or, more likely, ebooks. What about the fiction that I know I will re-read? Should I bite the bullet and get rid, and then buy on my kindle if I do get round to reading them again?
And the cookery books. My beautiful and rarely used collection of cookery books. 90% of the recipes are available on the internet anyway. Could I bear the thought of giving them away? Selling them? No.
And who wants them round here? Should I list them on a Luxembourg site for expats? Free to a good home? 1€ a book? Will I actually be able to let them go? As I said, I was pretty ruthless binning a whole load a few weeks ago. The books I have left are books that I love. You can mock all you like, but yes, I am emotionally attached to bits of bound paper.
I want my daughters to grow up with a world of literature open to them, but is there any point in keeping everything for them, just in case? Their grandmother has already bought them enough books to last them their early years. Dr Seuss, the Mr Men and Little Miss books, Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh and various other beautiful books I can't wait for them to discover. I have a fairly good collection of Enid Blyton books, and pony books that should tide them over many a rainy afternoon. But do I need to hold on to Tudor history and Jilly Cooper books for them?
I don't think so.
So my first post-move and pre-baby task will be to list them. All of the books I have already read. And somehow I will find them a new home. In the meantime I will just keep packing up the boxes...