It’s not like we all live in an English manor with a centuries-old library with enough space to allow us to collect indiscriminately. Space is always an issue and for renters, moving day is the back-breaking deal-breaker.
When my collection of books became unmanageable and I began downsizing a few years ago, I made some rather mortifying discoveries.
People walking into my home, almost always commented on my very large collection of books. So, here’s the embarrassing part. The assumption, often spoken, was that since I had read all those books I must be really smart. The reality was I had not read all those books, but it was a nice ego-perk. Bad Cat, go to the corner. Ego is not a good reason to own books (especially on moving day).
That was bad enough but then I realized some of my books were meant to impress. They were only on the shelves because they were “classics” and I coveted the reputation of being “well-read”. Down ego, down! I was using my bookcase as a literary scoreboard.
Examine the reasons and motivations for your book collection…ego…décor…work-related…laziness… reference…sentiment…impressing other people…making a statement…keeping a literary scoreboard…entertainment….information….love books? Whatever the motivation, it’s okay; you don’t have to answer to the literature police or to anyone else. But if your collection has become unmanageable, it might be time to realign priorities.