Throwing out books

September 30, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate throwing away books.  We have a couple of “first editions” from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that we really don’t have any interest in reading.  We have some books from 1903 which, at the time, was a collection of the “best literature ever written.”  About 10% of it seems interesting, but is the whole collection worth keeping?  Who knows, but we will keep them.  We also have a set of old books that we will keep because of the cool red leather covers, in perfect condition.  We’ll never read them, but they look so cooool! 

I also have some relatively worthless (not priceless) books that I keep around because I enjoy them.  I guess if I enjoy them they are not worthless, just valueless.  But I will keep them, box them, ship them and unpack them in Pennsylvania, and read them again.  And Again.

Through the “cleaning up” (Editing?) process we have also found a lot of books and magazines that were subjected to moisture, and the ensuing issues that entails.  Right into the recycle truck with them. (Eight boxes!)  Regardless of how valuable or entertaining these books may have been, they are now a health hazard, and are worthless.  They don’t even make good fireplace logs.  When I have a new book, I tend to pass it around and share it, but at every yard sale I have ever held, there were dozens of books for sale.

I like books.

Sometimes I think I should treat my friendships and relationships the way I should treat my books.  Or maybe I should treat my books the way I should treat my relationships.  You tell me.  Her are a few of my thoughts.

  • If I value a relationship (or a book) I should act like it.  I need to keep myself accessible, easy to get a hold of, within reach.  How else will my friends know I care?  I can’t keep my good books in the basement or the closet, neither can I do that with my friends.
  • Books need to be opened and read, not simply  put on a shelf to collect dust.  They should be utilized, not used up.  I would never think of tearing out the pages of a book as I read it.  I admit, my friends have poured their hearts  and souls and lives into my life recently, and I would do the same for them.  I hope to have the chance.  But I work hard at not using my friends up.  I value them to much for that.
  • When I read a book that moves or entertains me, I try to share it with others.  If two, three, four, or even five people read “my” copy of a book, that’s a good thing.  We sometimes think that if we introduce one friend to another we risk losing both friends.  After all wouldn’t it make sense that they would rather spend time with each other than they would with me?  But real life doesn’t work that way.  We must share our good books, our great stories and our wonderful friends.  Everyone is blessed this way.  Oh, yeah, we need to share our Best Friend, Jesus as well.
  • Relationships (and books) need for us to spend time with them.  No elucidation is necessary for this one.
  • Books and relationships need to be taken care of.  Not “protected,” simply cared for.
  • If I have a friendship that really matters to me, I need to make sure I keep it dusted off, cleaned up, and put on display.  Great relationships are more rare than great books, we need to show others how to maintain them.

I have been blessed more than most with the love for books, and the love for and of friends.  The friends that are in my life right now (and one or two that have been around a long  time) are more priceless than Shakespeare’s First Folio  or Ptolemy’s Cosmographia.    We need to treasure them for the treasure they are.

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3 Responses to “Throwing out books”

  1. Sarah said

    When I moved into this house (7 years ago), the friends helping us move stopped bringing my books up the stairs and left most of them in the basement. I had moved 18 boxes of books! Unfortunately, there are still about 5 boxes down there that never made it upstairs to the bookcases, but I think that due to Hurricane Irene, they are closer to the recycling bin…

  2. Tim Miller said

    No Hurricanes here (no Hisicanes either) just a very long damp season.

  3. Sarah C. said

    I, too, hate throwing away books. Just a little FYI, you are coming to a place that has a FABULOUS used book store — they buy and sell. It’s called Red Barn Books. The owners and many workers belong to the church. You will love it 🙂

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