Like most book lovers, I’m constantly looking for a way to feed my addiction. Books are like crack to me — I dream about them; lust after them; can’t wait to get lost in them. But, being the terrible glutton that I am, I have a lot of them. And by “a lot,” I mean an entire Ikea bookcase full of novels — most of them unread.
So I’m doing a little spring cleaning. When I quit my part-time job at a local bookstore a few years back, I was desperate to find a way to keep the steady flow of books coming into my home. I couldn’t imagine not living in a place piled high with paperbacks and I simply could not give that up.
I joined BookMooch, an online book trading site, and have gotten more than 100 novels through the program — including The Hunger Games and other awesome hardcovers. In short, it’s been fantastic. But? Space is at a premium in ye ol’ bedroom and, since my bookcase is now so full that it’s collapsing in on itself, I’m weeding out books and not really eager to bring too many more into the house. I have ARCs to finish, sent from publishers, but other than that? I’m trying hard not to purchase and/or mooch new books until I’ve finished what I have already. Or borrow them from the library, which I’m now all excited to do.
That’s easier said than done, of course. Of the books I currently have in my possession, most are unread novels I’ve acquired a variety of ways: purchased by me; sent from publishers; won through blog contests; mooched; received as gifts. And some of them? Not really my cup of tea. So what do I do with them? The idea of parting with an unread book is like asking me to shed a piece of my soul. If I haven’t read the book and still want to, even if it seems boring/not my genre, how can I possibly let it go?
But then I remind myself that, at this very moment, the backseat of my car contains about ten hardcovers and a few paperbacks — because I have nowhere else to put them. So I’m storing them. In my car.
I’ve become That Person.
So they have to go. They have to. This morning I carried in eight books, recently plucked from the bookcase, and began distributing them to my coworkers. Sandy and I share books all the time, so that’s no big deal, but what she isn’t interested in?
It’s going in The Box.
In my office, apparently, is a “Take A Book, Leave A Book” box. I say “apparently” because I never knew it existed until I wandered past the employee break room, a dark space I tend to avoid, in search of a soda. My caffeine fix is something not to be toyed with, friends.
And what did I discover there, sitting on top of a shelf all shiny and new and pristine? Sarah Pekkanen’s The Opposite Of Me, a book I’ve been lusting after for months.
In all the excitement, I’m pretty sure my mouth fell open. I reached out with trembling fingers to touch the cover, scarcely believing my eyes. In the past, the contents of The Box have been limited to tattered old romance novels circa 1983 and a few bad westerns, none of which I’m interested in. But this? This? A brand-spanking new work of women’s fiction with a colorful, gorgeous cover?
It was mine. It felt a little like stealing, but I most definitely took it.
Buoyed by the love I suddenly feel for my chick-lit-loving officemates, I brought books to contribute to The Box myself, including The Day The Falls Stood Still and Holly’s Inbox. And I have to tell you, I’m feeling pret-ty good about it.
Where do you take your books when you’re ready to part with them? Charity, friends, coworkers, a book swapping site?