Abandoning my books

I’m back! Maybe you noticed I was gone, maybe you didn’t, but if you’re wondering what happened, here you go: I packed two suitcases, left all my books behind, and moved to another country. Finding a new home and a job while getting used to having winter—among a bunch of other things new to me—takes time, so I decided to put a hold on blogging. But time has passed, life is finally getting back to ‘normal’, and I’ve missed blogging!

STAGES

Abandoning my books gave me the weirdest feeling. While planning my move, I always thought I was going to be able to take one or two books, but in the end, I had to leave them all. I admit I went through these stages:

  1. Denial. I convinced myself time and time again that I was not going to leave them all. I said to myself to take at least one, no matter where I had to carry it.
  2. Bargaining. I moved things around in the suitcase and considered leaving some of my clothes behind to at least take my Pride and Prejudice copy.
  3. Acceptance. I realized that they weren’t the most important thing to take with me. I let go.

A FRESH START

It’s silly, but after letting go of my books I felt something like… relief. Some of them I gave to my aunt, others I left home, and the rest (most of them) I gave to one of my best friends. They are in great hands. It was a fresh bookish start for me!

I thought of all the books I could start my new collection with. I imagined getting the complete Harry Potter collection and beautiful copies of Jane Austen’s works. Then, I thought of the space in my new home. Would it have room for a bookcase? Would I have to move after a while and also leave the new books behind?

I considered, right there and then, to just get books I was certain to reread or skim again from time to time. Poetry collections were the first that came to mind. I love rereading those. Maybe short stories, too. But lengthier novels and non-fiction books didn’t feel so important anymore. I’m not a big rereader, after all. Maybe just my favorites?

WHY OWNING ZERO BOOKS FEELS SO GOOD

After coming to terms with how tight my budget really was and how getting a new collection wasn’t feasible in the near future, I felt it again—relief. Now I know where that feeling was coming from.

Even before actively partaking in the book community, I stared in awe at other’s book collections. The stunning covers, the cool new editions, the reread copies highlighted and overflowing with annotations in posts-its. I wanted that. I felt a pressure to have my own incredible collection that showed how much of a reader I was. I looked at my bookcase and never thought it was interesting enough.

But, clearly, your book collection doesn’t make you a reader. Reading makes you a reader. It’s no revelation, it’s a fact and an obvious one at that. But I got carried away by the Instagram feeds and the gorgeous pictures at blogs. In the end, it doesn’t matter how big your book collection is or which books and editions you have, what matters is your reading journey.

That’s why, after abandoning my books and owning ZERO, I felt that relief. I wasn’t trying to keep up with others’ collections anymore. Now that I live somewhere where libraries work, I’m in no hurry to start getting my own copies of books and I definitely feel lighter.

Advertisements

29 thoughts on “Abandoning my books

    1. That’s awesome! I just think we feel the need to buy some books out of sheer impulse sometimes, you know? Because the covers are pretty, because we’ve read the author before, because of the hype. Whichever the reason, some books end up in our bookshelves taking up space and we don’t even like them. Maybe that’s not your case, but that’s what it felt to me at times. Now that I can use libraries, I feel like it’s such a better way to get most books!

      Like

  1. Qué gusto volverte a leer! Aunque casi nunca comento, sí había notado que no habías publicado en un tiempo. Mucha suerte en tu nueva etapa y viviendo en un nuevo país… y creo que yo no hubiera podido dejar mis libros, pero por lo general porque soy muy apegada con las cosas. Eso digo ahora, claro, pero tienes toda la razón… no hay nada como dejar ir, y siempre habrá oportunidad de empezar nuevas colecciones 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ¡Muchas gracias! Yo también pensé que era muy apegada, pero cuando te ves forzada a elegir, hay cosas que inevitablemente toman más prioridad. ¡Fue muy difícil dedicir qué dejar! Pero es cierto, es un nuevo comienzo, una nueva aventura 😉
      ¡Gracias por tu comentario!

      Like

  2. Esther! I’ve missed you ♥♥ So glad to see you back 😀 I hope everything went with the move!

    I totally get what you mean about the pressure of owning books. Even now I’m like “I should buy books so I have something to show off in my wrap up post” haha. It’s so bad especially when I know I can’t afford it. Or even when I do buy books I feel like it’s never enough?

    I love this post because it really helped remind me that I don’t need to feel guilty about not buying books. I’m really glad you feel better after doing this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, I’ve missed you too Lauren ❤ I'm happy to be back. The move went really well, thank goodness.
      Yes! How many books are enough? There's not a set number so we keep buying and buying… It can get out of hand! What you said about the wrap-up posts I can totally relate to, because when I started doing Instagram it felt like that. That's why it felt so nice to let go. I'm glad this post resonated with you 🙂

      Like

  3. You’re back, hooray! I was about to send out a search party. 😉
    I’ve sometimes wanted to get rid of everything and live with nothing. Since many of my books are ones I could not easily get again, I never have. But I sure think about it. I try to only buy books that I can’t get from the library, AND that I want to re-read many times. I can use InterLibrary Loan for most of the books I can’t get easily but don’t want to own. Still, I’ve got an awful lot.
    In fact, the other day a young mom I know contacted me to ask if I could lend her some old books to decorate for a Beauty and the Beast party for her little girl. I thought “Gee, I don’t have very many old books, but I guess I can find a few.” I was thinking of faded midcentury hardbacks. Then I turned around to actually look at my shelves and pick some out, and realized…I have a lot of old books. In particular, I have various sets of fancy leather gold-stamped things that would look great for a B&B party. I’d just forgotten. My whole family had a good laugh at my expense, and I lent out the books. :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yess, I’m finally back! Thank you for sticking around for my return 😉
      That’s so funny! And your old books sound amazing, I sort of want a B&B party for myself now haha. That girl must have had a beautiful decorated party thanks to your books.
      But it’s true. We never realize all we have until we have a hard look at things. Packing made me realize that.

      Like

  4. I legit teared up after reading this, Esther! I’ve always wanted to move to a new – well, not country, but city perhaps – as well but I’ve always been scared to take the leap.

    Also, this part “But, clearly, your book collection doesn’t make you a reader. Reading makes you a reader.” I can relate with being a little jealous of other people’s book collections. Like you, I don’t feel like my own is nearly as interesting. This really inspired me to just continue doing what I love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww ❤ I truly hope you can take the leap sometime. If it's something you really want, I'm sure you'll enjoy each step of the adventure. I'm glad you could relate and to know that I'm not alone with those feelings! And yess, keep doing what you love. Thank you so much for your comment, it made my day for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. But… but…
    Your books!
    Ahhhh!
    You may have let go but it’s hard for me to let go for you <_<
    Sorry, it's just… I never really had that many books, to begin with. Most of my books are e-books. Since I can't exactly get my hands on physical copies. And so I always dreamed of having a library filled with books, like those I see with other readers.
    I understand what you mean, though. When you say 'reading makes as readers' instead of 'books makes us readers'. It may sound confusing but… I get it.
    And yet I can't bring myself letting go of my books like you have.
    It's a brave thing. I'm so proud of you.
    You went through a BIG change. Just because you left your books behind doesn't make you less of a reader in anyone's eyes.
    In fact, it makes you one hell of a brave reader.
    Life is all about change and new starts, after all.
    And as much as I hate change, it's inevitable.
    And once you get used to it… it turns into a beautiful thing. A better thing. And you wonder why you haven't done it years ago (:
    So yeah.
    I'm rooting for you! You're a true reader. And you're going to do great out there!
    Thanks for sharing this with everyone. I loved reading this post ❤ (:

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a refreshing realization. Though the thought of leaving all my books behind permanently still stresses me out! Haha. I keep one bookshelf full of favourites, some of which I’ve been rereading since I was a child. For me, books hold memories of the time when I first read them, and I enjoy rereading them. I’m so glad that you’re able to access a library now. I don’t purchase as many books as people expect me to; I am a heavy library user. I would not be the reader I am today without one. I hope you will enjoy many more trips to the library 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same! People think that because I read a lot that I buy tons of books! Mostly I buy books for other people and buy the books I have with gift cards or receive them as gifts. I don’t count how many new books I purchase with my own money each year, but I want to estimate it’s fewer than ten. (Fifty cent used books don’t count….) The library is definitely my friend.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes!! I probably buy about the same (I keep to a strict budget). I rarely buy books I haven’t read yet because I want to make sure I have a connection with the story first. I like to think I read a lot of good books, but I feel only a few are worth holding onto.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. A favorites bookshelf sounds fantastic. I wish I were more of a rereader to enjoy books time and time again! It’s lovely what you said about the memories. I understand that perfectly. Now I just attach the memories to the stories and characters themselves, you know? And maybe when I reread a quote, it also bring backs something I felt or lived through at the time of reading that certain book. As for libraries, they are fantastic!!! They certainly don’t have ALL the books I’d love to read, but they sure have enough 😉 Thank you for your well wishes ❤ I'm sure I'll write one day about my love for libraries haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Admittedly, my rereading habits have slumped since I started book blogging ^^; I always have a goal to reread more each year… I also understand what you’re saying. A good story or character is so much more than just the words on the page. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I hoarded books for a long time. But when I moved far away from my hometown, I donated probably 200. I wasn’t really counting. It was hard at first, but I haven’t noticed the lack. I still have books. I like to keep ones that have sentimental value or that I know I will likely reread or that I like enough I will want to lend to others. I realized there’s not a lot of point for me to have books I wasn’t using and was unlikely to use. Donating them to others who might like them more felt pretty good, and I do try now to purchase primarily books I want in my collection. If I acquire ARCs or other books I don’t love so much, I try to donate those too. I think there’s a lot of emphasis on simply having books in the book community, and that’s not inherently a bad thing, but personally I no longer want to hold onto dozens of books I don’t even like just because it gives me some sort of bookworm cred to gesture at all my full shelves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes yes yes to all you said! Exactly, it’s not bad to want books, but it doesn’t actually *mean* you are a reader solely for that. Wow, 200+ books. They sure made some others happy and that has so much more value than keeping them for the sake of having a big collection. Well done 😀

      Like

  8. I can definitely say I have felt (and succumbed to) the great desire to own beautiful editions of my favorite books and display them on my bookshelf, and it is so easy to get caught up in the “ideal” life of that popular bookstagrammar, booktuber, or blogger. I’m glad I read this post today, because I really needed the message. Reading (not owning) books is much more important. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It always makes me so happy to hear that someone enjoyed the post!
      I completely forgot to mention booktube, thank you for bringing it up. That was one of the big sources of book-jealousy for me haha. Now I get to enjoy the videos much more, that’s for sure. Don’t get me wrong, owning beautiful editions is awesome, but reading them is ultimately what matters most to me 😀

      Like

Let's talk!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s