Well, I'm not burning them...

Seinfeld fans may well remember the line “"What is this obsession people have with books? They put them in their houses like they're trophies. What do you need it for after you read it?" While I can think of many justifications for keeping such books, there is some validity to this statement. Often, however, I am reluctant to practice what the line suggests.

This quote is on my mind because I am fairly aggressively going through my bookshelves and getting rid of books. Some were read, some were just started, some have me wondering what I was thinking (or what the gift giver was thinking), and some are just ridiculously outdated.

As an example, a good percentage of my friends in "Bloom Country" no longer make me chuckle. Apologies, Mr. Breathed. Further, I’ve decided that I don’t need every Dave Barry book, even if I used this brilliant quote of his as a very recent status: “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” Between these two writers, I am now about 10 books lighter.

Yeah, some of the books that seemed funny back then don’t now. As for some of my denser novels I thought I might want to read when I got older and wiser, well, I don’t. Further, I already covered the outdated practice of film developing in an earlier post; an accompanying book entitled “Overexposure: Health Hazards in Photography” is no longer needed. Astronomy books that tout the Voyager missions as the latest achievement in the field are probably missing a development or two in the space program. Then there are the many travel and reference books made redundant by the web. All pulled. Finally, “The Idiot” and Zappa’s autobiography—separate books—will hopefully find another home.

All told, I’ve removed the equivalent of at least one full shelf. And, I no longer have books piled on top or in front of my main book shelf.

So, I will donate and give away what I can, and throw away the rest. None will be burned.


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