Straight to the Heart

29 12 2006

I had not thought we would get to the heart of this blog so soon! I thought that since it was the middle of winter and I was not being confronted with yard sales and boxes of books in people’s garages and driveways that I was safe from this anger and dismay at people who just toss books.

Although, on a side note, I’ve decided that calling them tossers is quite accurate in British terminology. Apparently the term has changed to be synonymous with the word “wanker” and any self-respecting Brit would be happy to show you what that means with graphic hand gestures. Well, all the Brits I know, that is.

Back on topic – I was surfing blogs today and someone mentioned throwing away books! Throwing away books!!! That’s bad enough to make me use exclamation points in triplicate!!! I think I need a xanax.

By all that is holy, man! (In this case, woman!) Don’t throw it away! Don’t get discouraged if a used book store won’t take it! There are lists of things you can do with books that you don’t think are worthy to live in your home. I have this odd brain glitch where I cannot get rid of a book I have read or want to read. If it is not a book I want to read or keep, I have a list of creative things I do to find them loving homes. Until then, I clean them, store them vertically – on shelves – and look for more poor, neglected books. Call it a life mission, if you will.

I know, I know. Some of you readers are thinking “this woman doesn’t know what she’s saying. One day she’ll have too many books and start weeding them out.”

I say in return, “Bosh and nonsense!” Currently, 1500 books live happily in my home. Nearly 200 of them are being fostered until they are adopted out either through BookMooch or Bookins. I have plenty more room for more volumes, and in fact, my Christmas present from my husband this year is a set of built in bookshelves that will span the length of an entire wall in my guest bedroom. Being it will only be 9″ deep, I won’t lose a lot of floor space, and I’ll have tons more room to take in biblio-refugees.

Here are the only ways a book should ever be thrown away:

It is infected with the black plague – otherwise known as mold. This is irreversable and mournful, but it has to be done. Moldy books cannot be allowed to infect other books and normally they are too water damaged to be readable anyways.

Severe water damage. Water and books don’t mix, friends. Please don’t let your books be drowned because severe damage cannot be undone and some inks will not hold up. I lost one of my favorite books because I left it in the bathroom floor and our shower curtain leaked and drenched it. I’ve also rescued books where people tried to save water damaged books and only created hiding places for the black mold because the book wasn’t allowed to dry completely before being stored.

The book has been read so much that all the pages fall out and scatter around your feet when you pick it up. To this, I say, good for you for loving a book that much! Then, if you can part with it, you can toss it and buy a new copy. Me, I’ve only had this happen once but since I’m a bit on the insane side, I sat in the floor and put all the pages back in order, put the cover back on the book with a rubber band around it and put it back on the shelf. Then I bought a new copy for reading. That book is Moonspun Magic.

There are other reasons due to damage and misuse, and sometimes the book is outdated and no one – and that means you’ve looked and really no one – really wants it, that it’s ok to throw it out. Just know that it saddens me, friends. There are alternatives to tossing books. Remember: Creativity is a blessing!

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3 responses

29 12 2006
davidbdale

Ever seen something MADE OUT OF OLD BOOKS?

It happens now and then. You’re in a dusty antique consignment barn and you come across a lamp, or an end table, made of old books. sometimes bolted or glued together, sometimes drilled through to conduct and electric cord. Is this better, or worse, than throwing away the poor unwanted volumes?

Not a rhetorical question. I need your ethical guidance. Some books of mine are trying to hide from me and my power tools.

29 12 2006
Cyndi

I’ve seen it and I’m conflicted too! I guess if they really are books no one wants and no one will ever want, then have at it. But, be very careful because it’s not reversible! I’ve been caught cussing in antique stores because someone drilled through or otherwise ruined a late-1800s copy of Tarzan.

On the internet these days, you can even find people who want your abridged 2nd printing of the 1974 edition of the Encylcopedia Brittanica. You can also find places that sell furniture that looks like stacks of books but aren’t really which is highly preferrable to harming your tomes.

I can also think of some interesting designs that would include plexiglass or clear acrylic that could display your prized copies and still not harm them, while giving you the furniture you wanted.

30 12 2006
jmnlman

It is disturbing but not that surprising considering our culture. With this library 2.0 business you’re even starting to see it creep into librarys. “If we digitize then people will suddenly come back to reading.” Strange very strange.

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