Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Just Gave Away Over 300 Books

Western Fiction

Those of you who follow this blog probably know my wife and I are moving from Arizona to Nebraska. It's been over twenty years since we've moved and we forgot how much work it is. To keep moving costs down, we're giving away lots of stuff to the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Another possession we took a hard look at is books. They're heavy, thus expensive to move. We donated well over 300 books to a literacy group. After my blog post yesterday, you probably think we've gone hard-over for Kindle e-books. Nope. We still intend to move over a thousand books to the Great State of Nebraska.

Our current house has a library. It's our favorite room. It's filled with books, family memorabilia, and two over-stuffed chairs. For over thirty years we have bought books whenever we came into the vicinity of a bookstore, especially a used bookstore. My wife and I have different interests so our collection looks eclectic and we each have our favorite categories. When we prepared to move, we separated the house up and took different rooms, but not the library. In this sanctuary we had to go through the books together and each of us had an absolute veto power.

Except that it wasn't just the library. The shelving in that room could easily handle 800 books, but we outgrew it years ago. So when we had an entertainment center built in the family room, we added book shelves along an entire wall. Another 400 or so books. We outgrew this as well. I use a spare bedroom as a writing room and furnished the closet with cheap bookshelves. This collection was mostly nonfiction books I use for research or color in my novels. Before long, the shelves were full and books got stacked on the floor. My wife was perfectly okay with my mess ... as long as I kept the closet doors closed.

Western fiction
This would be easier
It's a wonder we found 300 books to donate to a charity. These discards were mostly fiction we knew we'd never read again or outdated nonfiction. (Okay, some were books we bought with good intentions, but never read.) I kept all of my early twentieth century Westerns and crime mysteries that I had bought for the cover art. My wife kept every cookbook. I kept all of my American history books and biographies. She kept all of her collectable books from some bygone era. Children's books? Nary a one hit the discard bin. Coffee table books? Unreadable narratives, with pretty pictures. Most of these heavy-weights went without a tear.

We pared our books by about a quarter. Before we started, I was sure at least half of them would go. Nothing goes as you expect, but I was enormously relived when this task was done. Then my wife said we needed to do the same with our DVD collection. Oh no. Chick flicks versus Westerns and films that go bang. I guess we're not done with the bickering and snide remarks.


  1. We need to do this at our house, and I've been trying to find a place that would be happy to have a donation. How did you do that?

  2. Our local supermarket had one of those unattended boxes to deposit old books. I stopped by and read the sign on it one day and it said the books would go to a youth literacy program. We debated between Friends of the Library and this program and opted for the youth rather than bargain shoppers.