Saturday, October 03, 2009

Put the book in the bag

Our town library is having a fundraising book sale next week, and we decided to help out. Since we've had our daughter, we've made extensive use of the library's free childrens' programs. Jess and the baby are there weekly. The staff know our names.

So we got out our full complement of cloth grocery bags and started packing books away. I warned Jess early on that I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to give all my books away. Some I had no problem; though I enjoyed reading Stephen King's Desperation, say, it wasn't special in any way. But then I got to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which I read in Las Vegas, and I had trouble putting it in the bag. I didn't even love the book, but I remember feeling it was important.

The same happened to American Psycho, which I read on a plane (on the plane to Vegas, actually). I have distinct memories of holding that book in my hands, feeling like somebody would be reading over my shoulder and judge me based on the difficult subject matter of the book.

The Mars trilogy, which I loved (even though sometimes the books dragged on for pages describing rock), also went into the bags. The Life of Pi, another book I paused and said, "Wait, this was important."

But then I remembered something. My entire marriage has been a struggle against my wife's urge to clean up loose ends and my desire to hold onto sentimental objects. And never once have I regretted letting her win one of those arguments. So I gave in, again.

In the end we filled 7 bags with books and donated them to some very happy staffers who will use them to raise money. And someone else will get the experience of enjoying a book I already enjoyed.

(and I'm secretly plotting to buy a Kindle)

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