Thursday, August 10, 2006

An Unwholesome Love

I would like to apologize to our readers for my serious delay in posting anything remotely new and/or interesting on DSW. I would love to tell you that my lack of attention to blogging stems from the fact that I've been holed up in my office, frantically improving upon my first draft of Revising Mr. Right.

Sadly, this is not the case.

Instead, I've been enmeshed in that horror of horrors that some people in this country refer to as "moving." That's right. As befitting any hapless young renter, I moved out of my Seattle apartment on the last day of July. Of course, my apartment in Olympia was not yet habitable, and so I had the great fortune to place my belongings in my parents' garage for several days. On this past Sunday, we removed said items from the garage and made our second U-Haul trip to the Olympia townhouse.

Bonus: the new apartment has stairs.

Now, I do not consider myself a materialistic person. And it used to be that I could fit all of my belongings into the back of a Ford Sedan. (Ask Theresa; she was on that particular road trip.) And yet, upon this particular move, I realized that I've been compromised by an unwholesome love. A fetish, if you will.

My friends, I speak of my overwhelming obsession with books.

There were boxes of books. Bags of novels. Paperbacks squirreled away in suitcases (ostensibly) full of winter sweaters. As I pulled my collection from the various nooks and crannies into which it had been packed, I had to ask myself: do I truly need all of these books? They make a decorating statement, and they're quite delightful to have around, but oh, how I HATE moving them!

And so, I petition the DSW readers for advice. Specifically, I want to know how you all weed down your romance novel collection. Because right now, I've removed the sad paperbacks that should never be read again in my life. I've enshrined my favorites on a special shelf. And I'm left with piles upon piles of books that were good, but don't quite merit "favorite" status. I reread them occasionally, but not often... so do I keep them, or pack them off to the used bookstore?

For the love of my big brother's aching muscles, give me some advice: how do I winnow down my most beloved, bulky book collection?


Nicole said...

Unfortunately, my strategy involves not buying them in the first place. I make an exception for Jennifer Crusie and vintage paperbacks with steamy (preferably nursy) covers. But you knew this, at least the naughty nurse thing anyway.

I prefer to borrow from the library and thus not spend money or have to store/transport them. But I am acquiring more costume books by the day (literally, something comes in the mail every day now that I am text shopping) not to mention the YA lit favorites in CA, the cyberpunk collection, the foodie books, vintage oddities too good to pass up (i.e. Bobo the Bear Dances at the Circus complete with plate illustrations!), and the aforementioned nurse novels, I am running out of room.

I suppose my answer is build more bookshelves? On castors? Because mobile storage is a beautiful thing.

tagideon said...


While that may seem off the topic of your book conundrum - the truth is you have always collected books. You still have treasures like the Berenstain Bears and Babysitters Club squirreled away at your parent's home. Good thing they support your habits!

Seriously, gather your books together and re-read them. If you decide the book shouldn't be kept in your collection then give them to people you know who would enjoy them.

I always got a kick out of you and Theresa making margin notes in some of the loo-loos you have given to your friends. Share your wit and books with others after you've given them one more read.

PS Welcome back to Olympia!

Renée said...

Happy birthday, Kate! I meant to call you yesterday, but I fell asleep instead.

Hey, email me your new address! I have a birthday card and some fabulous pictures of a certain red bag.

ames said...

Happy Birthday Kate!!

Jennie said...

Kate--I feel your pain. My sis/roommate wanted to move this year, and I just pointed to the walls of books and asked if she wanted to move them all. She (smart girl) decided it wasn't worth it.

That said, I do go through every once in a while and get brutal about weeding out. I figure if I haven't re-read it in the last 2-3 years, then I'm not going to ever again. So it goes to the library.

Do you do Paperback Swap? That must be a good way of getting rid of books, and you have the incentive of getting new ones in exchange. I've never used them, but people rave about it.

And happy b-day. :)

Theresa said...

Happy Birthday Katie! I was - alas - on call yesterday. I am - alas - on call this weekend. I did, however, try to call you Wed. Do I get credit for that?

Combo b-day/housewarming gift will be in the mail the next time I am off when the post office is open.

In the meantime, I got rid of ALL my paperbacks when I moved cross-country except Sweet Southern Caress with the margin notes (that I considered irreplaceable). And I don't miss them at all. Now I'm building up a small stash again, but as soon as I find a paperback book exchange here, those will be gone, too. You can do it. Do you need more moral support?

Riley said...

I've given up the re-reading method of keeping books. It's all about future readers (children, significant others, friends). If the book has the hope of being successfully handed off, keep it. Then again, I actually need extra storage space for my overflow books. So, I probably shouldn't be offering advice.

Happy birthday.

romancelover said...

Hmmm...I wouldn't be able to tell ya. My friends', father's, brother's backs are all destroyed because of my own boxes filled with books. One of the reasons I'm trying not to move again. But San Francisco is so expensive and I need a cheaper place...with hardwood floors. I hate carpets...although with the accident and my bro living in Santa Barbara, it looks like I might have to get movers this time. Argh! Good luck!!!

Holly said...

Happy Birthday, Kate!!!

I wish I could offer you some advice re: your book collection, but unfortunately, I'm not qualified to do so.

I can't bring myself to part with any of my books. I've more than 1500 now, and though I've run out of room to display them, I still can't bring myself to sell them, or trade them in. It's...disturbing. Even the ones I don't care for remain on my shelves. *sigh*

Good luck, though!

theflitgirl said...


So sorry I didn't contact you on the big day. I was in Santa Fe with the fam.

But... welcome to this side of 25!

Devonna said...

I've been going through this same thing. I have books, upon books, upon books. For me, I need to be in the right mood ~ I need to be in the mood to CLEAN HOUSE. I guess what it comes down to for me is, will I ever read this book again? If I won't I need to get rid of it. Trust me ~ I felt like I was getting rid of my children in a way. I owned every Sandra Brown and Diana Palmer book ever written ~ plus several others. I did get rid of quite a few that way. I just threw them into boxes and am taking them to the UBS store. I just figure if I'm not going to read them again, they're just taking up room on my shelves.

Sam said...

After way too many moves, I started asking myself a series of questions about every one of my books:

1. Will I read it or refer to it again?

2. Might I want to lend it to people?

3. Was it a signed gift or in some other way unique or irreplaceable (lots of the stuff I keep is out of print, for example)?

If the answer to any of those is "yes," in the box it goes. If to Salvo! I still have a ton of books, but it's a start. (There's a similar process for clothes, by the way. Every time I move, I get rid of more stuff. I really hate moving.)

Kate D. said...

You'd all be so proud of me! I got rid of twenty paperbacks when restocking my bookshelves... I still need to buy a new bookcase for my Regency titles, but that's okay. Twenty titles, gone.

It breaks my heart to part with Putney, but if I don't read it then out it goes! (We're talking "Fallen Angels" here, people. I would never give up "the Bargain." Who could? It's the Regency, male-protagonist equivalent of Blue Castle! Love it! LOVE IT!)

theflitgirl said...

Oh my gosh, did you give up Thunder and Roses? I can never part with that one. And definitely not Wild Child/China Bride.