Unread Books. Another Lesson in Letting Go

Cleaning out my bookcases and realizing that there is not time enough to read them all

Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

I have been procrastinating on the whole decluttering project that looms before me, now that I am retired. I look around at things that I donโ€™t need, have not used, can pass along to someone else who can use them. I do this gladly, for the most part.

Except for my books. I look at all the bookcases filled with all wonderful books. Books that I have accumulated over the many years. Books that I have read (and forgotten, but that will be for another article). Books that I intended to read. Books that bring back memories and scenes from my life. Books that have been companions to me through the years. 

There is a young man on Nextdoor who posted that he is willing to accept any and all books and will go through and repurpose them to where they can be used. It is a project from his heart. And I responded, feeling like this was the Universe helping to push me along a bit in the letting go process. 

I have 20 bags of books now sitting in my garage, waiting for his response as to when he can pick them up. 20 bags! And I still have books left on my bookcase. 20 bags is a pretty good start, I tell myself.

I realize, at this time of my life, that time feels much more limited. Much more of it behind me than ahead of me. Not time enough to read all these books, realistically. There are stories that I will not read. And I need to let go of those and pass them along to others who may read them and love them. 

Yes, I have a Kindle and also use that. But, and I think this may be also part of my age group, there is a special feeling that comes from holding a book in your hands, to turning each page anticipating what will come next. To feel the physicality of the book, the pages between my fingers. Not quite the same as a Kindle.

Which books to let go of. Which to try and read, to keep and plan to try and get to. And, realizing that I am a bit of a book addict, also acknowledging that I will still buy more books. So many books, so little time. So many stories. So many ideas. So many adventures into someone elseโ€™s world. 

I must choose. I must let go of some. And continue to make time to read those lovely books that I still have. 

I also realize how easy it is to become engrossed in technology, scroll through my phone, emails, texts. Less time reading. I need to work on that. Reading is such a quieting, meditative, soothing activity for me. 

As an only child, books became my friends, my way to voyage out into the world that my loving, albeit overprotective parents, limited me from. Books opened up the world for me. Told me stories. Made me think, feel, and become part of another story, forgetting my own for a bit. 

And so I become more intentional with my books. More intentional with my time, however long I may be graced enough to have left. More intentional with what I keep for a while and what it is time to let go of. More intentional with each moment of my life. 

I have stories to read. I have stories to write. I have a story to keep living, while I am still here. 

6 thoughts on “Unread Books. Another Lesson in Letting Go

  1. You might recall I did a very similar thing 2 or 3 months ago, donating my entire collection of college textbooks to the local library. Sometimes I feel sad that I don’t have those books anymore – they were such an important part of my life. At times I feel like going to their bookstore and see if I can buy some of them back. But that’s just just crazy sentimentalism. They need to be gone and stay gone. Next are my high school books. I still have those too, neatly boxed up. Back in that era, in Arizona at least, kids purchased their high school textbooks. I have this one called ‘Building Your Life’ which teaches about sex, drugs and dating, 1950’s style. Its a total hoot! I’m sure it is a valuable antique by now. So I’m still keeping that one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think books, especially older books from one’s past are like friends, good ones, best friends, helpful ones and so on. Just holding on to them helps remind ourselves of those special times together… I went through my books ruthlessly before I left for Scotland, some I regret getting rid of but others made sense because I can find them again in libraries. It’s such a personal thing isn’t it. I feel for you as you ponder and possibly part company. And I wish you well ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

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