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.

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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?

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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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