dear everybody who has given me a book or an arc,

English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sorry.

I’m really sorry.

I’m getting rid of a lot of the books you’ve given me, unread.

My bookshelves are moving from straight to parabolic. I will still be in school for another four months. I go to conferences multiple times per year. I have a netgalley account and an Edelweiss account. I have committee duties that require reading lots of books.

So I’m getting rid of some of the books I’ve received from these places unread, and I feel awful about it. But what can I do? I have no room. I will have no time to read most of them until at least 2014, and by then such a great number of other books will have come to my attention via new releases, reading stuff that recommends other stuff, going to other conferences, being obsessed with buying things. 

I’m dying. As of now, I haven’t even officially gotten rid of them. They’re in my to-get-rid-of pile, which now consists of so many bags, boxes, and stacks I can’t really open my front door. But I’m telling myself that those things are going away soon, just as soon as I call a cab and take them to Goodwill/the Prison Book Program/everywhere else that old but serviceable clothes, kitchen implements, books, and more belong. And I think I’m going to start to give myself deadlines for reading the ones I told myself I’d keep, though I can already tell I’ll be breaking them.

I just need to get rid of books. I need to get rid of lots of things, to purge and de-clutter, hence the gigantic piles. I just have trouble moving them out, and of all things, books are the hardest. I’ll happily continue getting rid of clothing, but that won’t actually give me more room for books. Paper takes over my apartment.

Anyway, my bigger problem is that I feel like I am disrespecting so many authors and publishers who have given their products to me. I’m potentially missing out on great books because it’s actually impossible to read everything I want to. FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE I HAVE TO ACCEPT THIS, AND IT’S AWFUL. I cannot read it all. You cannot have your books and read them, too.

And the thing is, I know this is not going to stop me from gathering more books and more ARCs all the time, nor is it going to stop me from going to the library all the time. This is just going to be a perpetual problem, a perpetual source of guilt, a perpetual bad behavior that I will try to remedy by reading as much as I can, being as restrained as I can, and donating things to schools and libraries that can’t afford the bounty I get for free because people are good to me. That’s fair…ish, right?

Seriously, I’m sorry. I am trying. I haven’t accepted new ARCs for months. It’s a start.

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10 thoughts on “dear everybody who has given me a book or an arc,

  1. It’s worth it for “You cannot have your books and read them, too.”

    I’m getting rid of many square meters of beautiful rugs I bought when I thought I was going to be in Oman for years… it’s not like books, but it’s painful to get rid of things that make us happy. Of course, I write from the luxurious perspective of a delinquent reader who keeps boxes and boxes of books in my mother’s house. She would probably argue that it’s painful to donate one of your closets to your grown daughter’s boxed-up book collection, but that’s a different story altogether.

    • haha yeah, my mother and I have been having this conversation about my childhood toys and games and art works that live in her storage shed. She already made me take all of my other things. But rugs are pretty, so that makes me sad. I feel for you, but I’m happy you’re coming stateside again.

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