I have too many books

Jane Eyre is missing. Possibly stowed away in an attic…if you get the joke, you’re a true reader. Wuthering Heights was my second purchase. Man, what a creepy, creepy, strange read.

When I was in high school I bought a copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I had a small, particle board book case in my bedroom and I lovingly placed the book on it.

That was the beginning of my book obsession….er….collection.

Those were the days of $3 Bantam Classics. And the days of roaming the shelves at Barnes and Noble, trying to decide which book my $3 would buy. I mean, when I had to babysit a whole hour for that three bucks, I wanted to get something that counted.

My collection expanded and I was excited when I filled the shelf with treasures. Books, I might add, that I did read. At least once.

Zoom ahead a few years (or 20…depends on your definition of “few”). Yesterday I was looking at my book shelves (yes, there are multiple now), trying to find space for my 2015 Empty Shelf.

“I have too many books,” I whispered.

I immediately slapped my mouth, gasping at the obscenity I’d just muttered. Heresy! How can one have too many books?


I do. It’s true.

Many of the books I own are ones I won’t read again. They’re books I won’t recommend to my kids when they get old enough. A few of them are books that I most likely won’t read. Ever.

Last year, I determined to be the kind of reader who is choosy. I realized that the quality of what I read directly impacts the quality of what I write. For the sake of my craft, I need to stick to books that will make me stronger, better. I’ve also been acutely aware of the limits of time. I need to invest my reading hours in books that matter.

To be honest, there are many books on my shelves that are just not going to make the cut.

So, they need to go.

Do you realize how hard that is for me?

Last year I read a book called Satisfied by Jeff Manion (who just so happens to be my pastor). In the book, he writes about “lightening the load”. Reflecting on an exercise in getting rid of stuff he didn’t need/want/like, Jeff said, “Ironically, I feel richer for owning less.”




I have too many books. And too many of them are weighing me down. They aren’t doing me any good. So. To the boxes they go. Into the van. To the library. I’ll shut my eyes and pat the box one time before grabbing my tax form and walking away.

But I’ll feel lighter. And richer.

And I might just need a hug…and some chocolate.

Okay. Off to the book purge.

19 Comments on “I have too many books

  1. I did this last year, and felt soooo much better for getting rid of things that only stayed because of some weird, misplaced guilt that told me I HAD to keep stuff, because I had to.

    Great reasoning, eh?

    And the garbage-y books? I actually donated them to the local garbage truck. Why spread trash?


  2. Oh, Susie. I am SO with ya! I have TONS of books that I really should get rid of – like you, ones I will never read again, ones I will never refer to. I am doing serious cleaning/purging this year, and I suppose books will be some of them. I may need a support group LOL. Would ya join?? ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. If you girls start a support group would you include me???? PLEASE??? My problem is that too many books are coming my way, and many of my books are still to be read! They’re everywhere! How do you stop them from multiplying like this??? I will go through the books that I’ve read and haven’t already given away and try really hard to (I don’t know if I can say it)…… purge! Susie, your books will not be purged! I must read Paint Chips again, and I haven’t even read My Mother’s Chamomile yet!

    In all honesty, I’m seriously thinking of giving up blogging. I’m constantly on edge, knowing that I need to hurry up and read these books so I can post reviews. I want to read to relax. I’ve been blogging for 2 years, and I’m really feeling the stress of it. Maybe if I begin the …… purge……. I’ll be able to slow down? I’m feeling your pain, believe me, but I want to feel the peace right now…….


    • Nancee, I suspect you started blogging because you enjoyed reading books. I doubt you’ve lost that love. I wonder if there’s a way for you to staunch the flow of books a little to ease a bit of the stress?

      You are always welcome in any group of mine. You are a sweet friend and I like being around you!


  4. Susie,
    I was thinking about this as I was looking over my many bookshelves the other day. I have stacks that don’t fit on my shelves so I need to make some room for the ones I really love. It will be painful, but you’ve inspired me…I can do it!


  5. It’s a lot easier to ignore your book obsession when they are on your Kindle.


  6. Hey, if there’s chocolate I’m in! I have boxed up two entire bookcases now and they’re out the door! And especially with ebooks, I’ve rebought some that I already owned, so I’d have them electronically – cuz I’ll read them way more than once. Now .. about that chocolate?


  7. Pingback: Reading Vonnegut | Susie Finkbeiner

  8. One year later, and not many books lighter, but the books arriving in my mailbox are my choice. I followed your advice a year ago, and “staunched the flow of books.” Now I’m choosing what I “want” to read and review, and it’s wonderful! Now to start the purge!


    • Oh, I bet it’s far more enjoyable to be able to choose what you read! We’re in this book purge together, my friend! We’ll feel better…maybe it’ll require chocolate first. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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