I was so proud of myself. Twenty books that I knew I’d never read again, their only reason for existence in my office to take up shelf space that could be used for books I will read again, or at least want to keep. This afternoon I boxed up all that excess and took it to the local thrift store, where someone could at least get some value for them. My good deed for the day.

Then I got to wondering what kinds of books a thrift store carries. Parked the car and went in the front entrance. Turns out there are some pretty book books in thrift stores. First rate writers like George Pelecanos and Linwood Barkley and Harlan Coban and Lee Child and James Lee Burke. All of whom came home with me to overflow my TBR shelf. Again.

I’d look for a twelve-step plan, but I haven’t hit rock bottom yet. That’s the scary part.

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Comment by Benjamin Sobieck on December 14, 2009 at 1:18pm
Just watch out for smut. I've encountered more adult books from thrift stores than works from legit authors (not that smut isn't legit...if you're into that). Maybe it's a Wisconsin thing, but it seems thrift stores are the place to tastefully rid oneself of smut after the pages crust over.
Comment by Edward G. Talbot on December 14, 2009 at 11:49am
Hi Dana -

I hear you, brother. Last year, I finally pulled the trigger and took a hard look at what I was likely to read again. I gave hundreds of books to the library that had accumulated for over fifteen years. I still have several hundred, but it was a big step jettisoning all of them.

I've started going to the library for more of my reading. I still buy books if I am specifically trying to support the author or if I am pretty sure I'll read them more than once.

I sort of have an excuse, though. My father is a hand bookbinder. If I didn't maintain a library, it would probably awaken all sorts of dormant childhood issues, and that wouldn't be good for anyone.
Comment by Jack Getze on December 14, 2009 at 9:52am
I keep buying more bookshelves.
Comment by Dana King on December 14, 2009 at 9:24am
Good idea, IJ. The library could be like a halfway house. I'd be sure to pick up some books--they're free, after all--but I'd have to bring them back.
Comment by I. J. Parker on December 14, 2009 at 8:09am
One step forward, two back. :) You could donate them to the library.
Comment by John McFetridge on December 14, 2009 at 7:13am
Is an e-reader and 24 access to all books you could possibly want rock bottom?

I share your pain.

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