I find myself with more than a hundred books that I’d like to eliminate from my life. They are excellent books, classics, bestsellers, collections of essays, etc. I just don’t have any reason to keep them in my house anymore. There are too many books that I have not yet read to ever imagine going back and rereading these.
There are some that I have kept. I’ve held onto my Vonnegut, my Twain, all of my poetry, and a few others for which rereading might someday happen, but the Marquis de Sade and The Valley of the Dolls?
But what am I to do with them?
Libraries won’t take them except for once or twice a year, and I always seem to miss their collection days.
Selling them on Amazon or eBay would net me almost nothing and consume an inordinate amount of my time.
I’ve thought about giving them away at my signings, creating some kind of game with my books as prizes, but how will a bookstore feel about me giving away books when they are trying to sell books to their patrons?
Suzanne Munshower of The Guardian recently wrote about this issue, urging readers to avoid throwing the books away, suggesting that people instead giving unwanted books to friends or donating them to a used bookstore.
I like both ideas, but there is no used bookstore local to me, and how am I supposed to pass off a copy of the Marquis de Sade to a friend? For the past six months, I’ve literally been driving around with about two dozen books in my backseat, a small percentage of the number I am trying to eliminate, hoping for that perfect moment when someone will want or need one of my books.
It has yet to happen. Oddly enough, the sudden need for a random classic piece of literature has not come up yet.
So in my backseat they remain, waiting for that new owner to step forward or for that used bookstore to appear on the horizon. I won’t throw them away, but I wish that I lived in the world where these books possessed a greater attraction for those who have not yet read them.