As a bookseller, one whose house is overflowing with books both read and (mostly) unread, I know I should stop acquiring even more reading material. Indeed, I sometimes wonder if I should radically downsize my collection. I read somewhere years ago (can’t remember where) that there are two kinds of personal libraries: those that show where one has been, and those that show where one aspires to go. I definitely fall into the latter category.
I have done a rough calculation, and figured at my current reading rate there is no way I will read all the books I have filled my house with over the years. I admit this gives me pause when I bring home another four coals to Newcastle. But recently I plucked one off the shelf–Cloudstreet, by Tim Winton. It had been sitting there, staring at me, for something like 17 years (the publicist’s letter still tucked inside). I packed it in my suitcase with other books for a recent vacation. And when I read it–wow, what a book. It was an amazing reading experience, one of my favorite books of the past few years. How can I get rid of my books now? Who knows what other gems are waiting to be discovered?