DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jun 20 2012

No, Not That One

by Veronica W

When a shelf holding a part of my personal library broke and books cascaded down on my head, I brought forth that word which had been relegated to the farthest reaches of my mind; weed.  My collection of books spanned over thirty years and each one had been selected because, at the time anyway, I loved the book. Like a greedy chipmunk, I wanted to fill my cheeks—or shelves—with things for future use.  However, unless I wanted my house to look like the woman’s in Sara Stewart’s The Library, I would have to divest my holdings.

As I scanned the shelves, I pulled out and fondly glanced through, some long ago favorites (no matter that my hands came away rather dusty). On The Road with Charles Kuralt, Five Smooth Stones, Lilies of the FieldGet Fuzzy: Groovitude had all at one time been worthy of purchase.  There was even a strange book entitled The Grand Panjandrum and 1,999 Other Rare, Useful and Delightful Words and Expressions.  (Did you know that “elflocks” is another name for matted hair?)

Almost weeping now, I moved on to the poetry section. Everyone should have a personal copy of  the Complete Pelican Shakespeare, The Poetry of Robert FrostThe Norton Anthology of PoetryAnd Still I Rise or The Prophet, shouldn’t they?  What to do, what to do?!!  My collection of classics abutted the poetry section and my eyes lit on Dodsworth, Summer of My German Soldier, Old Man and the Sea and Persuasion, among many others. Granted, I hadn’t picked up any of them in years but so what? They were still keepers. Needing a comfort break, I headed for the freezer and some Haagen-Dazs.

Fortified—and being made of sterner stuff—I waded back into the fray. I refused to look at my rather extensive collection of children’s books. Anything by Seuss, Wilder,  the Woods, Willems, Sabuda, Hamilton, Myers or Greenfield was there to stay. Perhaps the cookbooks? My hand hovered over Deceptively Delicious, written by Jerry Seinfield’s health conscious wife, then touched Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader.  Ann Byrn’s The Cake Mix Doctor was a contender but glancing through it and seeing the mouth watering illustrations, I put it back. In fact, I was sure that one day I would make something wonderful out of all of those books and when everyone asked me for the recipes, I would whip out the books.

Sighing deeply, I sat down finally in a chair and looked at my “friends.” I couldn’t get rid of any of them. With pursed lips and a narrowed gaze, I honed in on my clunky, outdated desktop computer, which took up almost an entire wall in the small room. Visions of a new laptop danced in my head, along with sleek new shelves, waiting to hold anything else I wanted, needed, to keep. Mentally dusting my hands in satisfaction, I shoved that distasteful word (weed) back into the deepest, darkest corner of my mind. Problem solved…for now.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg June 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

I too have The Grand Panjandrum in my collection! Somewhere.

David June 21, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Only 30 years’ worth of books? I still have the copy of Eleanor Cameron’s ‘The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet’ my parents gave me when I was in elementary school. It meant a lot to me at the time — still does — because our family didn’t have a lot of money and a hardcover book of my own was a treat.

Dea Anne M June 21, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Oh how I relate. My bookshelves are bulging and I have additional stacks of books all over the place. The “problem” (and I kind of don’t see it as one most of the time) is compounded by several years employment as a bookseller during which I acquired many, many advance readers copies of books that publishers were eager to see hand sold. I recently donated some cookbooks that I hadn’t used in years and it felt like pulling out my own teeth (maybe not quite that bad). All I know, is that I will never part with my copy of “Animalia” by Graeme Base…love that book! Great post, Veronica.

Raaj June 21, 2012 at 3:10 PM

That was awesome. It is exactly how I feel if I ever have to weed or part with any part of my collection. I am glad, someone is out there who feels the same!!!!

Jodi June 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM

David,
I can’t believe someone else remembers those mushroom planet books. Thirty years ago, my brother and I were actively searching through yard sales to find the whole set!

Lillian June 21, 2012 at 8:50 PM

My sister has over 2,000 books in her collection. She recently moved and she took each and every one with her. Guess who didn’t help her move.

Amy S June 22, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Everybody’s different I guess. I rarely actually buy a book; and when I do, I don’t usually keep it after I’m finished. That’s probably because I’m not the type to read something twice. Is that horrible? I want to cover new territory instead!

Fannie July 7, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Oh, if only I had gone ahead and done my planned weeding (for the past three years )before catching up with my DCPLive! Now my reluctance to throw any of my “friends” away has been reinforced by Veronica’s wonderful post. Thanks, Veronica. I loved it.

Alisha E. August 3, 2012 at 10:57 PM

I’m quite convinced that this article was in fact written about me, as it describes me to a “t”! I went through the same process last weekend, even with some of the same titles. Thanks for such a wonderful post!

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