So after QEII put my shelves together the other night, I was busy sorting my books and re-shelving them. Over the years I've had huge culls of my books, getting rid of hundreds of them. My plan this time had been to again cull loads, thus freeing up much space for.....more books! As it turns out, I managed to get rid of only twenty. As I sorted books into different categories and loaded them back into the shelves, I felt a moment of despair at the pointlessness of it all. Most of these books I'll never look at again, let alone re-read. What is the point of keeping any of them - why not just get rid of them all? And then, as so often happens, despair was followed by epiphany: I realised that books are a road map of your (reading) life - signposts to all the interesting and wonderful places you've been. Even if you never go there again, just seeing a title on a spine can bring back the pleasure of the experience. And the books you haven't yet read - because there are always a few of those - are the places you've yet to go; the adventures that you can anticipate.
This made me feel so much better about hanging on to them, and I was so chuffed with myself that when I spoke to k. I told her about my little analogy. She was less than impressed. She was in the middle of trying to decide what tomes she should discard in her highly book-enriched house and she didn't need me turning each previously unloved title into a precious, sparkling memory diamond.
Confusion, chaos, panic? My work here is done.