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No More Library of Alexandria

Scenes from My Library Circa 2002

I’m showing you this 17-year-old picture of my library because now it’s much worse. The center of the room has large piles of books and boxes full of more books. Was I trying to build my own Library of Alexandria? Apparently. I used to love going to bookstores and buying lots of books, supplemented by the books I bought from Amazon, eBay, and the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). I used to spend upwards of several hundred dollars a month picking up titles which I thought that, some day, I would sit down and read.

It’s not that I don’t read that much. According to my records, I still devour some 150 books a year. Look me up on Goodreads.Com, and you will find my reviews of all the books I read. It’s just that, now that I’m retired and on a fixed income, and now that bookstores have almost ceased to exist, I read more library books. And I also read many of the books I have downloaded on Kindle, which cost a whole lot less than new paperbacks.

So for the last year or so, I have been donating hundreds of books to libraries—most specifically the Mar Vista Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library—and in some case selling or trading books to the few booksellers still in the business. Each week, I donate an average of two boxes of books to the library. I will continue until my total book collection shrinks by some two to three thousand books.

That still leaves me with plenty of books. Being an insatiable bookworm, I will never lack for something to read.



4 thoughts on “No More Library of Alexandria

  1. As pleasant as it looks, you won’t regret weeding one bit. We have a smaller home also and gained a nice sense of space from going down to three tall bookshelves and one short one. Still have plenty to read.

  2. I doubt I ever had as many books as you, Jim, but I did have a great purge similar to yours when I moved from Arizona (with a library having bookcases almost reaching the ceiling) to Missouri. Probably around 1,500 went then. A much smaller purge then when I moved to Alabama.

  3. When I sold my house and moved to Escondido, I had to donate almost all of my books and sell or donate a large portion of my possessions. I actually haven’t missed any of it. Yes, I love books and still go to libraries and I am grateful that they exist. They take the place of churches for me.

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