What do you do with used books?

That’s my question of the day. I seldom read novels a second time. Some I may want to refer to while doing writing research — i.e., why was the opening effective or ineffective, or how did the author make the protagonist so real? Those books stay in my office. But most other books, secular or Christian, end up stored on the shelves of an empty bookcase upstairs in the guest room.

At one time, just prior to summer vacations, we would gather up all the paperbacks and head for a secondhand bookstore to trade them for fresh holiday reading. I’m not sure when that habit fell by the wayside, but it got harder to part with volumes. Now the shelves are nearing capacity and I realize I’ve become a book hoarder. It doesn’t seem to matter if I loved or hated the stories. The books have taken up permanent residence here.

Oh, I’ve donated a few duplicate volumes to our church library… reluctantly. God may love a cheerful giver, but when it comes to handing over my books I mumble a lot… even grumble a little. Besides, our church library’s shelves are pretty well filled already.


I like sharing a good book, but I’d much rather stick a nameplate inside and lend it out myself. That way I can stare deep into the eyes of the borrower and make sure I’m acknowledged as the rightful owner to whom it will dutifully be returned. Very ungracious of me, isn’t it?


As the bookcases around my house begin to bulge, however, I’m either going to have to cull books or buy a bigger house, and the latter isn’t going to happen. My hubby assures me our next move will involve downsizing.

Do you have any advice or innovative suggestions for me? What do you do with your used books?

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Books, Books… I Need More Books (like a hole in the head)

After yesterday’s post you’d think I would be embarrassed to admit this. I really should have known better than to stop at the library today but I couldn’t help myself. I borrowed eight books!!! Now you have to remember that I have a TBR pile on my office bookshelf that is already at a precarious height. One carelessly placed volume and I’m in danger of being buried in an avalanche of verbiage.


But the library is an addictive environment. All those orphaned books dangle provocatively in front me, just begging to be taken home even if only for a few weeks of my attention and TLC.


My tantalizing new pile includes “Turtle Valley” (Gail Anderson-Dargatz, 2007), “Moral Disorder” (Barbara Atwood, 2006), “Evan Blessed” (Rhys Bowen, 2005). “Nails” (Peter Bowen, 2006), “Ireland” (Frank Delaney, 2005), two of Barbara Delinsky’s older stories, “Heart of the Night” (1989) and “More Than Friends” (1993), and one of C.J. Box that I’ve read before but want to read again, “Free Fire” (2007). My excuse for this fiction indulgence is an upcoming trip… there is no better way than reading to banish the boredom of travel time, especially on the BC ferries.


Now, which one shall I read first? Oh, I know I’m a week away from the trip but no sense leaving these poor titles to fend for themselves against the jealousy of the nearby TBR pile! You never know what animosity might develop between them in a week. How would I ever explain tattered covers and ripped pages to the librarian? No, better to keep them all off balance, returning at unexpected moments to wag a warning finger at them as I withdraw another new title.


Like dust bunnies under beds, I’m convinced that books live a life of their own whenever the office door closes . You know, like the toys in “Toy Story”? You have to keep an eye on them, and the best way is to unexpectedly pop in at random times to  check out a blurb or exchange titles. It keeps them wondering who’s next.


I do plan to do a little writing on the side, of course! That’s what all this reading is about — priming my creativity, right?

Of Books and Bathrooms

Did you know the White House has 132 rooms? When I heard that I veered off into an orgy of home decorating daydreams. What would I do with oodles of extra rooms? After a Christmas season with visiting grandchildren in sleeping bags on the floor, having a few additional bedrooms is appealling. But since I’m giving my imagination free rein I know the first new room would have to become a library.


I can picture it clearly: walls lined with floor-to-ceiling bookcases accessed by a rolling ladder, a large fireplace fronted by cream-coloured leather recliners and a low circular coffee table to hold my day’s selection of books and a carafe of coffee. There will be a bank of french doors opening to my daytime view of the woods, with luxurious velvet draperies to cozy the mood in the evenings. Of course there won’t be a clock — time restraints don’t exist in my daydream. It will be a generous room with a music nook for the grand piano and cupboards to discreetly contain my mess of music.


It’s a grand dream, but as I think more about those 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms on six levels with eight staircases and three elevators, a nightmare begins to emerge. I could easily get lost trying to find a bathroom at 2:00 a.m.!