How serious is my current "Must, Have, Fewer, Books" mode? I'm even wary about borrowing books from the library. Somewhere in my mind, I'm having this thought: "Reading that will delay my reading a book I own. I won't know for a little longer whether or not I want to keep that book I've had for, what, how many years? It'll take longer for me to put any of my books I've decided to get rid of in the bag of 'To Be Sold Or Donated' stuff. It'll take me longer to get that bag to Goodwill or Cat Adoption Team Thrift Store or wherever. That'll mean a book instead of a book-shaped hole on my shelf or in those boxes in the basement storage room. My life needs more of those holes!"
This is after I got a bunch of books to Powell's and to Cat Adoption Team only two days ago. I'm making progress. My mind is a leeeeeeeeettle over-committed to making more of it. On the one hand, good that I can be closer to ruthless, and say "I don't need that. BEGONE!"; on the other hand, if this got out of hand, I'd likely get rid of much stuff I'd rather not get rid of. Do this purging in a measured, observant way, as I've been doing, and I'll be happier.
I get like this every few years. 2001 was a major purge time for me; I had a special shelf (this was at the house near SE 50th and Hawthorne where I rented a basement room) of Books I Was Done With, so I could see my progress in finishing them. And getting those to Powell's Books (to sell) or the Multnomah County Library (to donate) was very satisfying. In 2009, when I was feeling, heh, really poor, I saw all those unread books I still had as cheap entertainment. I burned through those, and jettisoned them quickly.
But 20-plus years of accumulating books, and not having the shelf space of Harlan Ellison (whose Sherman Oaks, CA home, Ellison Wonderland, might be the most invitingly book-friendly house in that entire region; parts of that house were literally built for books), ain't undone quickly. And I'm reminding myself it doesn't have to be.
For instance, fear not, I'm not completely avoiding library books. That's how I've read stuff lately by, say, Laura Anne Gilman (suricattus) and John Scalzi, plus Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy (I'm a little over halfway through the final book, Mockingjay), because I've wanted to read that series and, again, I'M TRYING NOT TO BUY STUFF UNLESS I'M REALLY, REALLY SURE I'LL WANT TO KEEP IT. Because I really keep it, thought at least not to hoarding levels. Speaking of that, I've also reminded myself that eventually I will want to buy more books, so when I sold books at Powell's on Tuesday and had the choice between $17 cash and $27 Powell's in-store credit, I went with credit. I hope Future Chris thanks me. Thanks me by getting good books.
(I also combined the credit with the $7 or so I still had in Powells.com credit from a Christmas present. It's all (for a certain value of "all") on a gift card. I'm more likely to buy in-store than from the Powell's site, anyway.)
So I'm tasting some books, chewing others, and digesting a few, as I should. And an ever-higher percentage of my books are books I really, really want to have. That's another worthy goal. That's also important.