letting go of books and regretting it.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The other day, I decided to sell some of my books. I didn't have any room left on my five shelf bookshelf, and I figured some of the titles were those that I would never pick up again. Also, I figured that these books were better off read and appreciated by others. Letting go of these books was fairly easy, almost refreshing. Then I get to certain books that I had to think twice about. Sure, I probably would never re-read them again, but I could not muster up the courage to think about giving them away. So they stayed. 

When I got to the bookshop where I sold some of the books, I freely gave the seller the bags I had kept them in. I walked away to browse while the bookseller did her thing. When she called me back to the counter to give me the price for the stack, that's when I saw it. On the stack of books I was willing to let go was a book that I did NOT want to sell at all. I must have accidentally dropped it in there without thinking. Since I didn't want to risk looking and sounding like a crazy book-woman, I kept quiet. I got the money, and I left the bookshop feeling a little sick.

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Walking to my car, I kept telling myself it's not really a big deal. I could just buy it again someday if I really wanted to. I kept repeating in my head, "They're just books. They're material objects. They should not have such a strong hold on me. Right??" However, even when I kept telling these things to myself, I still felt bad. To me, it was reminiscent of an unwanted breakup. Letting go of books was like letting go of something that's been part of my life. And maybe I was overreacting in this situation. Maybe you understand where I'm coming from. Maybe not. All I know is, it was a pretty odd and memorable experience to feel so strongly about it. 

24 comments:

  1. I definitely know what your feeling. I got a new bookshelf a while back which was about half the size of the previous one (it had to be smaller so I could fit a turntable into my room) so I had to get rid of loads of my books. Some I didn't really care about, but it still felt weirdly blasphemous to be getting rid of them. Then there were the ones which I did care about, and now they're either on my bookshelf or stuffed into my wardrobe or wherever else I can fit them. Getting rid of books is hard because over the years they kind of become part of you, so believe me you're not the only one who feels this way.

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    1. Exactly. It does feel blasphemous, doesn't it?? Now that I've heard of other people feeling the same way I do, it makes me feel so much better.

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  2. Letting go of books is never easy, so I understand your pain. I personally am lucky and have a lot of space for my books, so I only have to let go of the books I didn't enjoy reading, the rest stays on my shelves and just looking at them always makes me happy.

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    1. Someday I'd love to have my library in my house, which will definitely help! Bookshelves are the best and a great way to cheer yourself up whenever you need a little pick-me up.

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  3. Totally understand your pain. There were a few times I gave away books I haven't even read, and now looking back I wonder if the itch of reading them in the near future would be back.

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    1. I always think about that too! Yes, perfect description: that itch to get it back.

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  4. Yet another reason I don't buy books! I go to a book sell/swap place, but it's usually quick reads, not something I'd want to save. Thanks for visiting my blog today. Have a great week!

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    1. A good reason NOT to buy books indeed! But I can't help myself. Hope you have a great week ahead too!

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  5. I think I would weep if I accidentally sold one of my favorite books - so I know exactly how you're feeling! I don't have an issue getting rid of books I'm not going to read, but when it comes to my favorite books, I have a very unhealthy attachment to them. :)

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    1. I almost wept, Brandie. Almost! I couldn't though because there were people parked next to me and it would've been embarrassing :P

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  6. Honestly, just reading that made me feel a little sick. I started picturing the books that I would never get rid of and then thought about losing them. Yes, they are physical objects, but what they truly represent are the experiences you had while you read them.

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    1. Writing that made me relive the sick feeling too, and it's so true, they represent experiences and memories.

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  7. I think sometimes books are hard to let go of because of the experience that goes with them. We remember reading them at a certain sad or happy time, or they were gifted by someone who matters to us. Books are so much more than just a bound set of pages!

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    1. I agree. Books mean so much more than pages!!

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  8. I am going through my books right now. It is really hard to know which to keep and which ones not to. (Especially since my kids are reading and we have all of their books too.) For some books that I am on the fence about I always think "I can get this at the library" and then it makes it easier to part with them.

    Now if I accidentally got rid of one of my absolute favourites I would feel exactly how you feel. I'm so sorry that happened. I hope you feel better soon. Books are so much more than books.

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    1. That 'I can get this at the library' works for me too, unless there's such a long waiting list and I.MUST.HAVE.THE.BOOK.NOW. haha. But yes, it helps me control my book buying.

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  9. I know just what you mean. I have clear outs now and then to make more room and i always find there is a book i wish i hadnt let go :(

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  10. There are a couple of books on my shelf that I could part with quite easily, but the rest seem to have become a part of me almost. It's strange how I've attached memories to each of them, where I was when I read them, how I was feeling at the time etc.

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  11. Great post my dear:))
    If you have time visit me on my blog :))
    xoxo Antonella

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  12. I have TOTALLY done that. Except that I freaked out and took the book back, asking them to reevaluate my offer without it. (Do you go to Half Price Books? I used to work there, and it's pretty easy for them to reevaulate an offer based on how they sort the books and write up the offer. I definitely did it for customers. Not that that helps now, but in case it happens again!)

    I'm fussy about which books I keep after I've read them, but I'm super possessive of the ones I choose! It would have devastated me to let one go. I feel your pain :(

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  13. I would totally grab that book back from the bag, even if it makes me look like a crazy lady. Somehow, I will not be able to live with myself after losing a book. This is all conjecture though because that hasn't actually happened to me. So I totally feel your pain. But on the other hand, like you said, you can buy it again! In fact, I would go to another bookstore and buy back the book I just lost. I am so sorry that happened to you - I already struggle with giving up a book or two, having to lose one I didn't mean to give away would be super hard.

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  14. I totally know how you feel. Years ago, I bought a fancy hardback copy of the first Harry Potter book, and for some reason thought "okay I can totally get rid of my old sloppy tattered paperback version." So now I have all my sloppy tattered editions of the Harry Potter books EXCEPT the Sorcerer's Stone. Why did I, a massive HP fan, ever think it was okay to give away the first HP book I ever read??? As someone who gets super nostalgic and attached to her books, I still regret that sooo much.

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