July 2nd, 2017

[Update @ 0533 on 27 July—While reading an old Oliver Burkeman column I came across this quote:

Who was it who said, I hold the buying of more books than one can peradventure read, as nothing less than the soul’s reaching towards infinity; which is the only thing that raises us above the beasts that perish? Whoever it was, I agree with him. —A. Edward Newton, A Magnificent Farce And Other Diversions Of A Book Collector

Me too.]

Long-time readers of Have Coffee Will Write are familiar with these photos taken nearly 15 years ago after I realized a lifetime dream of having floor-to-ceiling bookcases.

Yesterday I eliminated eight of the 16 shelves worth of books in my living room. Many went to Mac’s Backs on Coventry in Cleveland Heights, and the balance are now part of the Kiwanis Club Of Lander Circle 60th Annual Rummage Sale. In the mix are 368 hardbacks, 472 paperbacks and 585 pulp magazine science fiction and fantasy short story collections.

Once I got started I was surprised at how easy the process was. I made my decisions about what to keep and what to give away quickly because I had a criteria in my head: what might I actually read again and what was a useful reference? The sorting took less than an afternoon.

The books are all out of the house now and today I’ll be tearing one of my two floor-to-ceiling bookcase and moving it to the basement to be repurposed.

Fuck recycling, reducing and reusing are the real virtues.


  1. Jeff Hess says:

    Good morning,

    Here’s a hint of the demon I wrestle with.

    After I dropped off all the books, I went to the Orange branch of the Cuyahoga County Library to work with one of my students.

    While I was waiting, I made the mistake of walking by the Friend’s Of The Library perpetual book-sale shelves and saw that someone had donated a complete set of Shelby Foote’s The Civil War, A Narrative, in pristine hardbacks for $9.

    I actually picked up volume one, leafed through the pages, took a very deep breath, and walked away.

    That was really, really hard.



  2. I’m proud of you Jeff. Such will power!


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