Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Books, Books, and More Books... (Part 1)

"Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them."

That is how I felt, and how my house looked when I first looked around my apartment and realized how cluttered and overwhelming it was.

I had books. Books on bookshelves, on tables, on chairs, on counter tops, and even in stacks on the floor.

I simply had NO. more. space. And hundreds of them were books I'd never even read -- books I'd bought 2 or 3 or even more years ago, "intending" to read. (You booklovers out there know exactly what I'm talking about.)

I'd had the best of intentions, had anticipated reading all these books. I'd looked forward to it. Until I realized over 75% of the books in my possession were TBR (to be read).

And then my books, once so valued and wanted... became a burden. Every time I looked at the stacks and full bookshelves, I felt guilty for not reading them. Extremely guilty. I knew I would never read all of them, not at the rate I accumulate new ones. That's when I realized something had to give. It was either keep the mountains of books and read them all - a process that would literally take YEARS - or clear them out.

That's when I found this blog entry:

To Be Continued...


  1. Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem
    Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmathullah wa barakatuhu

    Dearest Sister

    Long time since we last talked; 100% my fault as I haven't posted anything for ages.

    But reading your blog made me smile; yes, I know it's a serious topic but you and I are so alike.

    I share a house with another sister and she is always complaining (politely) that she keeps tripping over the books I leave around everywhere, and that I have taken ALL the bookshelf space and most of the tops of tables, etc so she can't even put her coffee anywhere.

    I keep telling her that living with me is a chance for her to practice sabr, but I am not sure if she sees it that way ! :)

    I look forward to reading Part 2 insha'Allah

    Hugs from your sister in Islam, Aliyah

  2. keep the mountains of books and read them all - a process that would literally take YEARS

    I see no problem with this. At all. *looks around at her own books*

    But seriously, I totally understand this. I have...let's call it 2,000 books. I used to have twice that many. I hauled them around from house to house as we moved, struggling to find someplace to put them all. I literally lived in a room full of boxes of books for a year because I didn't have the shelf space to unpack.

    I was finally forced to cut the collection down. It took me a week while I was on vacation to do it and it was so stressful for me that I was sick to my stomach. It made me realise that I wasn't attached to the majority of the books for my love of their contents (since I hadn't read the majority of them) but the simple fact of having them. I was heading into hoarder territory.

    Now, well, I still love my books, obviously, but I feel so much better knowing that they all fit neatly on my shelves. I can look at them and see how good they look. (I think one of the nicest things in the world is a full, well ordered book shelf!) I still have books left from the purge that I haven't read but I'm working my way through the collection and if I don't enjoy the book, I get rid of it. It doesn't hurt anymore and I enjoy rearranging my shelves when I get rid of them.

    1. Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem
      Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmathullah wa barakatuhu

      I honestly think books are addictive !!! Amber's description of cutting back the number of hers sounds like an addict trying to cut back on drink or cigarettes.

      For religious reasons I have never drunk nor smoked but I drink too much REAL coffee and, when I decided I was going to cut back, I remember vividly the physical and psychological effects that had on me. (I am now back to drinking as much as ever!) Those side effects of cutting back on coffee are just the same as I get when I try to prune my book collection.

      Yes, looks like I am addicted to coffee and addicted to books. Anyone know if there is such a thing as BA? (Bibliophiles Anonymous). Because I need it. NOW!

    2. Aliyah,

      You're absolutely right that it's an addiction. I've gone through withdrawals before, not drugs but caffeine, and it was really similar to that.

      I've jokingly called myself a biblioholic, but it's really more true than most people would understand.