Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

This is a difficult post, and something I’m having a hard time reconciling with, so please bear with me.

Open Letter– to whom it may concern

How can you get rid of me like this, toss me out as if I never meant a thing to you? Have you forgotten the laughter, the words we shared, the time we spent snuggled up in the armchair together while you held me close? What about those times when I brought a smile to your face, shared my deepest darkest secrets, presented my thoughts to you like an open book?

 

Have you truly forgotten all the years we spent together, those years I waited for you to acknowledge me the way you once did? Do I no longer fill you with excitement? Does the thought of me no longer fill you with desire?

 

I won’t go into all the times you’ve ignored me, walked past without giving me a sideways glance, the times you treated me as if I didn’t exist even though we were residing under the very same roof. I was unable to cry out for your attention. Would you have listened to me anyway?

 

There was no warning, no exchange of angry words. How was I to know? You became bored one day and figured you’d had enough of me. You were tired of looking at me. Keeping me around was a waste of your time. Your life needed decluttering. I was part of that clutter. I was in the way. You had better things to do.

 


You picked me up, dusted me off, and packed me away.

 

You wrote about it on Facebook a few days ago. You and your friends made jokes. You bragged your intentions. You were getting rid of me you said. A few objected, but most just laughed it off. Perhaps they thought you were joking.

And so now you expect me to find a new home, far away from here, from you. Be honest, it was your plan from the start. I’m surprised it took so long for you to execute it. I hope you don’t mind this parting picture as I go. A little something to remind you of me.

Yes, my friends breaking up is very hard to do.

Do you find it difficult to part with books? Impossible?Do you donate them, pass them along, or *gasp* throw them in the garbage?

 

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40 Comments

  1. I find it harder to get rid of books I’ve read. Especially, since I tend to be a repeat visitor to books I like. Its a little easier to get rid of books I’ve never read because I didn’t get a chance to connect with them. I always sell them to a second hand book store. That way I know they’ll get a new home with someone who really wants them. :-)

    Reply
    • I seldom read a book over, C.B. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because my TBR pile is growing all the time. Most of the books I got rid of were purchased second hand.

      Reply
  2. somewhere in my life I got very good at giving things away. It might have had something to do with moving many, many, many time. I like moving, I like new places. I do not like the actual work of schlepping my things, so I narrowed it down. Books included. Now, I happily donate books to the library for their sales, pass them on to anyone I know who will enjoy it, and so on. I can’t bring myself to throw books away, even if I know they are in horrible shape or worse, a bad read. What’s more, I like letting go of books I don’t absolutely adore, to make room for new ones.

    Reply
    • It seems to me Jess that moving would make a person learn quickly how to let go. I’ve been in the same house for 33 years. It’s not easy. :)

      Reply
  3. I’m with you on this one. I have so much trouble geting rid of books. They are like old friends. When we move, my husband complains , but then builds me more shelves. I have taken some to the second hand store, donated a few and given some away, but that is only a very small percentage of the books I own. I will soon have to do something I am afraid as they are taking over.
    BTW There should be a severe penalty for anyone who throws a book in the garbage!

    Reply
    • I shutter to think that books get thrown in the garbage, but I know it happens. Good that your husband builds you shelves. Perhpas I just need more shelves. ;).

      Reply
  4. I have a hard time letting go of books. I rarely do. But then, I don’t buy many books. I bit the bullet and thinned out the shelves three years ago, getting rid of a lot of books in a genre I moved on from (mostly). Apparently I thinned more than that because since then, I’ve searched for three books I know I owned, and now regret that I no longer do. So, yeah, I have a hard time breaking up with my books, and really see no reason to.

    Reply
    • It is difficult to get rid of books. I have many that I would never dream of parting with. However, those ones I have no intentions of reading– didn’t seem to make sense to keep them.

      Reply
  5. Ah Laura, parting is such sweet sorrow. Yet, our loss can be another’s gain. I buy them, borrow them, download them and stash them. I still own some, tattered, battered and old … like me ?? From college, some from high school, and find myself sliding my fingers over their spines like a sometime lover.

    Yes, it is so hard to say goodbye. And yes, I know some things must come to an end. So when the day comes that I do “thin” out the collection, I donate them to Friends of the LIbrary or the Good Will, or sometimes to a friend … must we remember that if we love something we must set it free? Enough. I’ve use more cliches than any writer should be allowed in such a short space :) Well … on more … when you say goodbye remember to say thanks for the memories :):)

    Reply
    • Loved the cliches, Florence. :) My books were donated to a good cause so I feel better about that.

      Reply
  6. No problems with the novels but the history/theology stays. John Calvin, Martin Luther. Eusebius, early church, Reformation – kept that stuff over 40 years. Arts and crafts books stay too.

    Reply
  7. For me to toss a book into the garbage it would have to be beyond help. I have donated several books to a church library once, but I really don’t get rid of them. I just can’t seem to do that. Perhaps someday …
    I think maybe it’s because I don’t want to miss something I should read. What can I say? I love books.

    Reply
    • I always feel a bit better when I donate books to a good cause or pass them along to someone I know will enjoy them. :)

      Reply
  8. I have the hardest time ever getting rid of books, yet I make myself cleat the shelves every summer…and it’s sad for me each time!

    Reply
    • I felt very much in that same situation. I knew books had to go. It may be another year before I do it again but by that time I’ll have added many more to the pile. :)

      Reply
  9. you sucked me right in with this post. Good job! and yeah, it is hard to say goodbye to books but I try to find them a good new home with friends, or the library or used book store.

    Reply
  10. I have donated some, passed some along, and a couple I’ve torn up for artwork. (Don’t worry, they held outdated info).

    Reply
    • Art work? Now that sounds interesting and reminds me of a piece of art my daughter made with the page from a book. I may have to post that sometimes. :)

      Reply
  11. bev smith

     /  May 27, 2012

    I give mine to a charity shop at least they make more money which goes to good use. I use to have problems with the parting but now i have a book case (large) and when it’s full something just as to go to make room for more – of cause. I find i borrow lots from the library these days too.

    Reply
    • I like to borrow books as well, especially those ones I want to read but not necessarily own. I’ll soon have my book budget blown for this year. lol. Went to a book launch and a library reading yesterday and came home with two more. lol

      Reply
  12. LOL!! It took me a couple paragraphs to clue in, but yes, I know the feeling. I still have my university English Lit book, for goodness’ sakes! I can’t seem to part with any of the books written by my writing friends, especially if they’re signed. I rarely ever read a novel a second time, though, so occasionally I’ll donate books to the church library, give a few away, or take them to a second-hand book store. But I could *never* throw a book away. (Mmm… to be honest, once I did throw one away that was so bad I didn’t want anyone else to have to read it.) Writing craft and gardening books always stay, because I’m bound to want to look something up in them.

    Reply
    • Ooop! Gotcha! I can’t see myself ever parting with a signed book. There are always places to donate books and really no reason for them to ever be thrown out.

      Reply
  13. I never throw a book in the garbage unless it physically can’t be saved. I’ve sold a few at yard sales, but the majority of my books–the ones I’ll part with–are donated to my kids’ school library (if age appropriate) and our local library. Libraries–particularly school libraries–are always looking for books, so if they’re in good shape, it’s the best place for them. I own about 600 books, and many will stay with me and find a home in my own home library some day. The book I’ve owned the longest is “In a People’s House” by Dr. Seuss. My kindergarden teacher gave it to me (all three teachers signed it) when I was five…think 1972. That could never happen with an ebook. The oldest book I own, I think of the top of my head, is a Zane Gray western from the 1920s.

    Reply
    • I did have one that was in such rough shape that I had to chuck it. (It wasn’t that great either.) Libraries are a good place to donate books.I go to the library sale most every year and bring another bunch home. I’m hopeless.

      While I don’t know how many books I own, I’m betting it’s no where handy to your 600, Diane. Wow!

      Reply
  14. Linda

     /  May 27, 2012

    Laura your letter was amazing, enjoyed reading very much. Books are hard to get rid of, so I either pass them on to someone else or donate them to the cancer society. I am not a collector of books, but I do want them to continue on somewheres else.

    Reply
    • Hi Linda, welcome to my blog! So nice of you to leave a comment.
      Glad you enjoyed my letter.Donating to the cancer society is an excellent way of recycling books. With all the great ways everyone deals with unwanted books there should be none going into the garbage. :)

      Reply
  15. I Both donate and pass along. As a-matter-of-fact, I just let go of three boxes from my office. I could easily load another 3 boxes, but it’s so hard to let them go. I have to wait awhile before I can bear it…

    Reply
    • It IS hard to let books go. Three boxes is a lot to let go at once no wonder you have to take a breather. :)

      Reply
  16. fivecats

     /  May 27, 2012

    I keep the old books, good and bad. Read, half read, less than half read, unread. The bad ones are relegated to their own shelf – you never know when they’ll come in handy.

    Reply
    • Maybe you can come up with a nifty craft to use up all of those bad books. I’m willing to bet that someone somewhere is doing just that. While I don’t mind parting with the bad ones I still wouldn’t throw them away in case someone else might like them. :)

      Reply
      • fivecats

         /  May 29, 2012

        My craft skills are somewhat limited. I have thought about taking a chapter from each book, put them together to make a new book, then publish it. Problem, though, will be getting the permissions. :)

        Reply
  17. I love this blog post, Laura. We just went through the same thing at our house. It’s so difficult to part with old friends! I give my books away to library sales, the hospital gift shop and place them in the free book shelves at our local town hall. BUT IT’s STILL DIFFICULT TO DO!!!Meanwhile, I still have hundreds of old friends I couldn’t part with!

    Reply
    • Thanks Sue! It seems that every book-lover struggles when it comes time to say goodbye to our books. I’m encouraged to know that everyone seems to have found great ways of lightening their load. :)

      Reply
  18. Oh no not the books……

    Reply
  19. I usually donate to the library the ones I don’t plan on re-reading. (I’m a big re-reader!) Plus, there’s always Freecyle or Goodwill.

    And I could never, EVER, put them in the horrible place you mentioned. The visual alone gave me the shivers and made me queasy.

    Reply
    • Hi Leah! Yes, I agree that “G” word should not exist in the same line as book. That’s spookier than one of your horror movies. :)

      Reply

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