I have too many books.
There, I said it.
You may also remember when I calculated how many more books I could purchase and still manage to read them all before I pop my merry clogs.
It finally dawned on me over the weekend that there is no fucking way I am going to get all this stuff read. It simply will not happen.
No really, it won't. As well as all of that stuff on the bookshelves I have drawers full under the bed, a wardrobe with books taking up more room than clothes and piles in the eaves of the attic (which doubles up as Ethan's bedroom).
I am overwhelmed. Influxed. Booked up to the eyeballs. Slightly foxed and surrounded.
Something has to be done.
So I am having a clearout.
Now, before the bookaholics amongst you start having coniptions and spitting at the screen, allow me to explain.
I had a reasonably important job at Waterstone's for six years or so. I got sent hundreds, if not thousands, of free books. I tried to be sensible about this. I read those that it was important for me to read. I passed others on to people in the office that I thought would enjoy them. I left a load every week on the freebie shelf for anyone to help themselves. A few went to my fellow commuters at Kew Bridge station. And I took lots home. To read later. Much later.
I knew I wouldn't be working there forever, that the constant stream of free books would end at some point. I wasn't exactly stockpiling but it was something close to that. I had probably amassed sufficient books to last me a few decades.
So, you see, when I say I am getting rid of some books these aren't all books that I have paid for myself. I know many readers cannot bear the thought of ever parting with a book but in most cases these are titles that they have selected with care and purchased with their hard earned cash. Or perhaps they have been passed down through generations. Of course they wouldn't want to chuck them out. I understand that.
But the majority of my books were given to me for nothing. They were a perk of the job - one that many people would hate me for, and rightly so, but I wasn't about to turn them down now was I? - and don't come with the same sort of emotional attachment. It isn't going to be as painful as all that to wave them goodbye.
Also, I hadn't expected to still receive so many freebies. When I started the blog it had a few dozen readers every day. Now it has hundreds, many of whom are avid readers, and a fair few publishers have decided that it is worth sending me proofs or finished books to review. Rarely a day goes by without a jiffy bag or two plopping through the letterbox with some new things to read (these are all mentioned in the New Arrivals sidebar).
So you can see my problem, high class one though it is. My starting point was shitloads of books and they just keep coming. Something has to be done.
Hence the clearout.
My plan is to get rid of sufficient books so that I can get everything else out into the open. To finally release the dozens of books under the bed, in cupboards and boxes. Get them all on display so that when it comes to deciding what to read next I can actually see what I have to choose from.
Please understand. This isn't a complaint. I know how lucky I am to have all of these books. I just need to be realistic. Even with a big offload of volumes I am still going to have a huge library keep me going and to pass on to the kids. They won't be going without.
So, while the family are away for a few days camping I am going to see if I can make a dent on this book mountain.
I shall report back daily.