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Is this extreme? (getting rid of books) - Page 4

post #61 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post
I just had to post one more reason why I own books: Because I abuse them.

I read in the bathtub, while cooking, while doing dishes, while gardening, etc. I can't treat library books like this. So I tend to buy a lot of used books, keep them for a couple of months while I read and abuse the poor things, and then sell them back to the bookstore. Essentially, I treat the used bookstore like a library.

But, again, I see no fundamental problem with owning very few books and getting most of one's books at the library. I don't see how any home could have a large enough variety of books to keep a voracious-reader child satisfied.

Crayfish
I do the bathtub reading thing too!: However, NOT with a borrowed book! I've never dropped a book in the tub, but a borrowed book WOULD be the one I'd drop!

Miriam, if you want to get rid of the books, GO FOR IT! I've only got about 70-80 books, but aside from reference/history/classic fiction, the majority are obscure, impossible to find in the library. I'm moving soon and donated a ton to my church's library. The suburb I'm moving to has an EXCELLENT library!: I want to read more history and libraries are great for that sort of thing. I've decluttered TONS of books over the years.

ETA: Have you read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? The heroine was in a very poor family growing up, but she always got tons of books from the library.
post #62 of 85
I know this is an old thread, but I had two things to add to the discussion. FWIW, I have really decluttered my stash of books. I don't need to own books in order to appreciate them. I visit the library weekly with my kids, and we never lack books to read.

Idea #1: I keep track of all of the books I read. I was so afraid that I'd get rid of all of my books, want to read it again a few years later, and not be able to remember the title or author. So I have a reading record- I record the names of books I read, books I read aloud to the kids, and audiobooks I listen to. My 8yo DS recently started a reading record of his very own

Idea #2: We have a library book basket in the living room. Library books are kept here so that we can easily find them when it's time to return them to the library.
post #63 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz View Post
Idea #2: We have a library book basket in the living room. Library books are kept here so that we can easily find them when it's time to return them to the library.
We have a cute little mini-book case that we built (made out of four pieces of wood..hehe) and painted, and that's where my dd's library books are stored. I never take out more than a couple of books/dvds for myself so the adult books are stored right on a high shelf in the play room. Yeah it really does help to have a place for them!
post #64 of 85
I think it is just fine! I am totally guilty of buying books and then never getting around to reading them. Just having them on the shelf doesn't really improve my life or expand my knowledge, kwim? I also get books from the library and then I end up reading them because I know I have to turn them back in!

I think I could pare my own books down by a lot. The kids' books would be harder for me. And dh is a total lost cause. He is a "collector" so he even has multiple copies of the same book. Don't get me started on that...
post #65 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiriamF View Post
What I'm wondering is - is it nuts to get rid of almost everything except a few cookbooks, a dictionary, an atlas, and some really nice coffee table books (think "the earth from above" for example or some really great photography books from Lebanon, where I'm from)?

So, would you do it? No books in the house except for a few reference ones you own, and the ones you've checked out?
Do I think it is nuts? No. If it frees up your time from dusting, categorizing, moving, or finding space - why not? As you said, there's always the library.

Would I do it... probably not, as I have a hard time letting go of stuff. We've pared down our collecting quite significantly. Although, I do find some value in keeping books, if not to lend to friends, then it is sentimental. My books are somewhat of an investment and if I can borrow them out, reuse them, etc. then I feel like it is worth keeping some. Not all. Some. I keep and borrow much more than I used to. Years ago I thought I needed to own every book I'd read. I got over that, though.

I'd rather have books as decoration than little knick-knacks. : But I can also understand the desire to get rid of them and if you're in the thought to do so - go girl.
post #66 of 85
As a kid, we had tons of books, and I loved it. I felt like we had a library within our house! I ended up reading books I never thought would interest me, just because I was bored. I go through our books and give away lots, but I do like to keep a good stash of a variety of them around.
post #67 of 85
We got rid of about 90% of our books and I couldn't be happier with our decision. We love reading, love books, have a daughter who loves books and reading (well, she is only 3 so not yet reading but loves books).

For us, we realized that we were keeping a ton of books around that we rarely looked through (but had read and re-read) just to appear intelligent. They were the kind of books people coming to our home would look at and think, wow, these people must be well read and intelligent and eclectic and quirky and cool --- why, their books tell us this. Books are a status symbol for the intellectual.

I am not suggesting that is *all* they are, as we had read all of our books and enjoyed them. However, having one's books on display is to an intellect what having a flashy car is to some people imo, a way to define yourself within a certain sub culture. ETA: and I don't say this in a condemning way, it is just how I see it.

Anyway, in trying to declutter our home and to keep what is only beautiful, loved, or useful (preferably all three!) I only kept books which I believe are absolutely essential books I want in my home. Ones that I want my daughter seeing on the shelves. I didn't want my daughter just seeing tons of 'pretty good' books on shelves. I want my daughter to see a few out of this world books on the shelf, as not to have the quality get lost in the quantity. We have about hmmm.... looking at our bookshelf I would say about 50 books total I think. DD has about 50 as well. Anything else I can get from our very well stocked, very local, huge library or (like a pp) get from a thrift/used book store for pennies then donate to the library when finished.

I am not trying to criticize people who have tons of books but I do disagree with the correlation between owning books and reading. Growing up we hardly had any books in the house, though my mom was (and still is) a VORACIOUS, devouring reader -- she and my grandmother and all their friends had book trades all the time, and our libraries were utilized as well. Almost all the children (3 out of 4 including myself) love to read to this day. So, take it for what it is worth.

Just my 2 pennies.
post #68 of 85
It sounds like it would work great for you guys...for us, we have a ton of books (we could literally have one room wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling with books on shelves) and I want to keep them. As a kid I was a voracious reader and we lived about 6 blocks from the library. I probably read 15-20+ books a week from the library and still read a large portion of my dad's collection of books (and there weren't many children's books there, lots of non-fiction in fact). I would have loved to have had the library we have as a kid, and I wouldn't have gone to the library any less. Yeah, I can probably get every single Louis L'amour or Agatha Christie book from ILL, but I'd much rather have them all in my house, KWIM? Plus we live about 20 minutes from the library and won't be going there more than once a week at the most, it's just too far and too expensive to drive there. We might go through and weed out some of the kids' books at some point just because we have so many, but I don't mind have lots of books around, and all of my books have been carefully selected (no sense in spending money on a book I don't really want to own!) and I have no plans to get rid of any of them.

And we haven't spent a ton of money on our books for the most part. There are some non-fiction books on nutrition, religion, and various subject that we've bought new, but the vast majority of our books are garage sale finds that we've purchased for about .25 apiece.
post #69 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy View Post

For us, we realized that we were keeping a ton of books around that we rarely looked through (but had read and re-read) just to appear intelligent. They were the kind of books people coming to our home would look at and think, wow, these people must be well read and intelligent and eclectic and quirky and cool --- why, their books tell us this. Books are a status symbol for the intellectual.

Just my 2 pennies.
Exactly! I agree with this sentiment very much, as well as the rest of your post. I just didn't know how to say it so concisely without offending anyone. We're still intelligent without the ownership of certain books to prove it!
post #70 of 85
I dont think its insane - but I wouldnt/couldn't/WONT. Haha!
I have weeded through my books many a time and donated/freecycled them. And everytime I regret it and want them back! LOL! My books are my babies! I love reading, have since I was 3! I have a hard time letting go of books. Hubby (bless his heart) deals with my TONS of book cases everywhere.
I even have a book on CD library for when Im taking a nice long tub bath! I can LISTEN to my books! EEK! Im a Geek!
I read to my daughter constantly, she loves reading to me!
Of course, my library is a good 20 minute drive away too. And its a bit frustrating to go look for books with my 4yr old in tow as she just wants to be in the kid area. We do go for story time sometimes and check out but mostly we either buy, trade for them, or get them free. We also ask for them as gifts!
If it works for your family - then I dont think its insane though!
post #71 of 85
It sounds like you are poised to see if very few books works for your family. That sounds great. As these posts show there are a lot of different approaches. Go with your experiment; but keep an open mind as your kids get older and your family changes.

What works for our family:

Adult fiction- we limit these to classics that I read over and over again-Jeeves, Jane Austen etc, the rest we get from the library or friends or thrift stores and return/give away when read.

Adult non-fiction-we keep reference books which we use a lot

Kids books- this will be determined by the ages of your kids and other factors. We home school and my son is 7. We have a lot of kids books. He reads them over and over plus we easily get 20+ books out of the library every week. I go to a lot of book sales and buy his favorites for about 50 cents or less each. I buy a lot of out of print titles- the Anatole series for instance. Some books get read a lot more because we own them. An example is D'Aulaires Greek Myths- he has chosen to read from it dozens of time. Another is the Magic School Bus books-only the ones by Joanna Cole. We have been reading these for 3 or 4 years. Now he might read all 10 in one day. At the library they would be scattered throughout the nonfiction section. I am constantly going through his books and weeding out ones he has outgrown or which don't get used. At age 2 I could have fit all of his books in a milk crate. At age 7 he has 3 shelves of picture books, 1 shelf of mythology, 3 shelves of non-fiction and 1 shelf of craft/instruction books. At age 15 we might be down to one shelf again as his interests change.

Enjoy your new found space!
post #72 of 85
I struggle with this. I love books and have a lot of books that you can't get anywhere around here or at all through the library or inter-library loan. I hate it when I get rid of books and regret it, especially when the kids become interested in a certain type of book again.

I gave tons of books to the library in mint condition (lots of them fairly recent and interesting), hoping they would shelve them but saw them a couple days later in the book sale (while they have old dusty tomes no one cares about that haven't been checked out in 10 years taking up all the room :

However I'm tired of all the books which take up so much room and make our apartment looks so cluttered. So I can't win. Keep books or lose them forever. Sigh. I do cull through them every now and then. I've given away about 50 shopping bags of book this year and it hasn't made a dent : . We love books. I now only buy new if it's something I absolutely cannot get anywhere else and I have stopped the mad second hand buying so the amount isn't increasing, which is good
post #73 of 85
I couldn't do it. I read and reread and reread again. I grew up among books (mom's a librarian) and a home without bookshelves (and bookpiles ) would not feel like a home to me.
post #74 of 85
I grew up with not so many books at my house but I read a lot. My father read a lot as did my whole family. I would pass a book around with friends growing up or get it from the school library. Our town library was out of the way so didnt go there too often. As I got older, my Dad would take us on the weekend at least twice a month to Crown Books a discounter. All of us would load up on books to read. Now as adults he still reads the non fiction and will pass it to us or the best sellers and we will pass it around as well. I remember as a young adult the Harry Potter series coming out and thinking how much I would have loved those as a child. I enjoyed them as an adult as did my Dad and FIL. I remember FIL buying the last of the series and us all arranging when we would read it.

Before having children, I had more disposable income to buy hardbacks etc and they started to pile up in my house. I also bought several AP books when Liz was born. I started to declutter books as well and donate to the library. I had all those Oprah's book club books when she started that years ago and the library said it was nice to have more of them since they got several requests for them.

A few years ago I realized my dozen or so AP books etc could help someone else out. I think I knew what AP was by then!! Also my 2 plus years of breastfeeding taught me enough. Another MDC member was starting a chapter of LLL in another part of the country and there wasnt a lot of money to get their library started. I sent her a box of the books and it just cost me the media mail postage to send. It helped a lot of other mamas out and I didnt need these books anymore.


When Maggie was born, we were given and bought a few books about having a preemie. They were life savors for us. When Maggie came home, I passed them to another mama here who needed this info just as much as I did before her.

We have a ton of books the girls read every night before bed. Maggie has always loved reading. I joke that she heard good night moon while I was carrying her from reading to her sister so much. She then would nurse or sit in my lap while I read to Liz as a baby. So she took to reading and wants to be read to all the time. IF she dosnt hear books before bedtime, watch out!

I prefer to check books out now instead of keeping in my house for us (the kids have several hundred and we have taken some out before.). I take out cookbooks or buy new ones but I rotate a lot of them except for a few favorites.

There is a used book sale in my town next week. Its an awesome sale and I buy about 20-40 books for about a dollar a piece. Usual they are the standard bestseller style stuff. I will read them over the next few months. Then I donate them or freecycle. A few times on freecycle a member wanted them for her condo building. She said they put them out in a social room and every one of them gets taken to be read. She said my books were good picks because they were not the normal romance novels you usually see on freecycle! She said the older men appreciated my love for the John Grisham type books I would pass along.

I dont care to keep a lot of anything in the house because I feel it sucks energy away from us and owns us instead of me owning the book. It can bless someone else by not being stuck in my bookcase. But that is me!

FWIW, we enjoy going to the library and checking out books as well as dvds. The dvds used to be rentals for a week for $1. DD would pay for that herself out of her allowance. Now they are free so she is thrilled.
I also keep the library card catalog as a book mark so I can look up if they have the book. If not, I can reserve it right online and they call when it comes in. DD did that with the cars movie a few weeks ago and got a thrill when the library called to tell her it was in.
post #75 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
Then I donate them or freecycle. A few times on freecycle a member wanted them for her condo building. She said they put them out in a social room and every one of them gets taken to be read. She said my books were good picks because they were not the normal romance novels you usually see on freecycle! She said the older men appreciated my love for the John Grisham type books I would pass along.
.
Another good idea for where to donate is your local Cancer Center. Not only do you get a tax deduction - but a lot of the patients will read them while they are recieving chemotherapy. They get really excited out here when I take in fresh magazines and books - they call me the Book Lady! LOL!
post #76 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
I dont care to keep a lot of anything in the house because I feel it sucks energy away from us and owns us instead of me owning the book. It can bless someone else by not being stuck in my bookcase. But that is me!

FWIW, we enjoy going to the library and checking out books as well as dvds. The dvds used to be rentals for a week for $1. DD would pay for that herself out of her allowance. Now they are free so she is thrilled.
I also keep the library card catalog as a book mark so I can look up if they have the book. If not, I can reserve it right online and they call when it comes in. DD did that with the cars movie a few weeks ago and got a thrill when the library called to tell her it was in.
Yep. I found that the loads of books that I am never going to read again were too much for our little house! Now my friends and I pass around all of the fiction paperbacks that we don't want to keep (often bought second hand for next to nothing) or I get stuff from the library. I always have several items in my request queue at the library.

I will keep certain classics (especially if they are a nice hardback edition) as well as some nice reference books - the exeption is that we have tons of children's books right now because the kids do like to read books over and over.
post #77 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post
I don't think that it's insane, no. It's not what I would do, because I very frequently re-read books, but even so, I've gotten rid of a very large percentage of my books. I've kept the ones that I actually do re-read or refer to frequently, and some that I love and that are hard to obtain - the long-out-of-print books that I had to wishlist on Powell's or watch for on eBay for a some time before they turned up.

As a child, most of my reading came from the library - we went every single week and brought many books home. There were plenty of books in my parents' house, but they never actually read them - they were essentially wallpaper. My parents influenced me to read, but that was all about our regular trips to the library, and nothing to do with the stale, un-read books at home.

So my only issue is that you might want to hang on to some of your daughter's very favorite books, because they do go out of print. On the other hand, it's been fun to find my childhood favorites on eBay, so maybe it's just fine for her to do the same thing someday.

Crayfish
I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by enkmom View Post
We are VORACIOUS readers, and we visit the library 2 or 3 times a week. All of us are usually reading 2 or 3 books at the same time.
Same in our house too. Although since we moved, I have been more willing to part with the books that aren't favs or reread often.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiriamF View Post
So what's why I would get rid of books. It might seem nuts to some people, but I challenged the need to own books since we moved almost 5 months ago and I still hadn't unpacked my books! That's when I realized... do we really need to own all these books?
That's funny. The books were the first thing I unpacked! As a PhD student, there are about 50 books that I routinely use. Plus DH would go crazy if he didn't have a book to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
The stuff in our home (beyond what's truly essential to support life) sends a clear message to our children about what we value. In our home we value literacy and reading. Yes, we go to the library, too, and regularly. But we don't live at the library, we live in our home. Books are a source of delight to everyone in my family. I can't imagine living in a house barren of them.
I agree with this too. My parents had a wonderful library of fiction and non-fiction that I read and reread through childhood. Many of the books were purchased second hand. I feel like the books I read from my parent's library really influenced my personal philosophy about life and allowed me to pursue a variety of interests: from architectural design, to Norse mythology. And because they were my parents books, we often talked with each other about them and shared our feelings about the books/stories. That's not to say we didn't use a library. We also went to the library at least once a week too. So books, reading, and learning were a very important part of our family life.
post #78 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by slsurface View Post

I agree with this too. My parents had a wonderful library of fiction and non-fiction that I read and reread through childhood. Many of the books were purchased second hand. I feel like the books I read from my parent's library really influenced my personal philosophy about life and allowed me to pursue a variety of interests: from architectural design, to Norse mythology. And because they were my parents books, we often talked with each other about them and shared our feelings about the books/stories. That's not to say we didn't use a library. We also went to the library at least once a week too. So books, reading, and learning were a very important part of our family life.
ITA.

I think it is beyond important to have books in the house.
post #79 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post
ITA.

I think it is beyond important to have books in the house.

I think the argument with the book minimalists is that they DO have books in the home, they are just borrowed.
post #80 of 85
I don't think it's insane. If you're not using them, why keep them? It's the same as anything else. There's always the library, Google Books, Librivox, and Project Gutenberg.
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