Letting go of books


The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.  ~James Bryce

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. Every book I read teaches me something new – a new perspective, some value-addition, a challenge to my beliefs, getting to know about different cultures and of course, enriching vocabulary.

For example, I read Leo Babauta’s ‘Power of less’ and it made me have a serious look at my consumption patterns , the way I had been cluttering my house, getting into debt with my habit of finding solace in shopping. The book is, as Leo describes it,

“A how-to manual on how to simplify and focus on the essential. How to do less while accomplishing more. How to focus and use that focus to achieve your goals, no matter what they are.”

All by doing less and owning less.

A few months back, I probably would have found it very hard to let go of my books. Every book I read used to be proudly displayed on my bookshelf as a trophy. I guess every book lover goes through a similar phase and can’t even imagine to let go of even one.

But a sudden shift came with my acquaintance to minimalism. I started questioning my pride of having my own library. I asked myself how many books I re-read and if I am not going to read them again, then why am I hoarding them?

Still giving away books was difficult for me, so I decided not to buy more books and bought a library membership instead. However that didn’t work out for me as library was quite out of the way and I found it difficult to take out time to go there. Also, at times, the titles I wanted to read were not available in the library.

And then I bought a ‘Kindle’- the most amazing gadget for book lovers. Though I must admit that, I miss the feel and scent of a book and ‘Kindle’ can never replace the pleasure of reading a real book! But still it’s a fabulous device. Your own personal library in a tiny device, you can carry your library with you wherever you go, you don’t have to worry about the physical space the books occupy and the books on kindle cost less too!

During my Diwali decluttering challenge, I gave away some of my books to friends and I found that it’s really not that hard to let go. So I put up some of my books on ebay for sale and I have started the process of downsizing my library.

I still buy books like my recent purchase of ‘The Tarot Bible’. I find that reference books are more handy to use if bought in physical form. Or my purchase of  ‘The Oath of Vayuputras’ as the title is not available on kindle.

It’s more important to read and savour the book rather than hoarding it. Read, learn and share – that’s what essence of reading should be all about!

Please leave a comment telling me about your personal library.



7 thoughts on “Letting go of books

  1. I cannot possibly imagine giving away my books. I know exactly what you mean when you say you are attached to your books. Every place I have lived in, I have built my own little library of books, loved and forgotten, lying somewhere around my apartment. But some days, I feel an urgent need to re-visit one of those old stories. If I don’t have that book on hand, I am restless until I find it. Which is exactly why I cannot give away my books. But I guess you are right, I need to de-clutter too. But definitely not today, maybe later 🙂 This is how “later” turns into “never” . Lovely post 🙂 I enjoyed reading it !

    1. Yes Amba, books are the loyal friends whom we can revisit again and again.That’s why it becomes so hard to let them go. I am still learning to let go!

  2. You have inspired me to look into that book called The Power of Less!! I do have many books that I do not re read but hang onto for sentimental reasons. I’m unsure which books I could get rid of but know that there may be a few I bought and just never read for one reason or another. decluttering always makes me feel so much better. I do though tend to hoard things whether it be in my purse or through collections. When I move out im def going to re evaluate everything I have!

    1. ‘power of less’ is definitely worth reading . It makes us question the excess stuff we are holding on to in all aspects of our lives. And yes, it’s hard to let go of books just because of the sentimental value. But if we aren’t going to read them then books are just clutter. It’s better to let others benefit from them rather than let them gather dust in our bookshelf .

  3. What I do with good books is take their essence in notes on the computer or whatever and then pass them on. Only the seriously most favorite that notes cannot do justice for are kept.

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